There’s something about all things retro that I simply cannot resist! I love products that evoke a deep sense of nostalgia within us and take us right back to the 80s. As innovative and futuristic gadgets are today, sometimes you just feel like escaping from all the modernism and immersing yourself in the simplicity of the past. To help you experience this, we’ve curated a collection of retro-inspired gadgets that promise to take you on a trip down memory lane, and they’re designed especially for your home! From a Nixie tube tabletop clock to a retro-inspired minimal radio – this collection of gadgets are the perfect little retro additions to your living space! Though these gadgets are wonderfully retro-esque, they have been imbibed with modern functionality. Their aesthetics may be from their past, but their utility is embedded in the future. Enjoy!
The Nextube is a product of that cultural throwback but relies on today’s tech. It mimics the raw, retro appeal of nixie tubes, but given how rare these tubes are (since they stopped production in the 90s), the Nextube uses a clever set of mini LED displays encased in vacuum glass tubes. Complete with a neat walnut wood base and brass trims, the Nextube looks like something from an 80s laboratory on your desk. The steampunk gadget comes with 6 individual displays that tell the time as well as the weather, in that gloriously vintage nixie-inspired glowing font. Its primary function is that of a tabletop clock and alarm, however, the 6 mini displays can be programmed to display practically anything, from the weather to your YouTube subscriber count, the price of your favorite cryptocurrency, or even a countdown clock for a pre-set date/time.
Meet RMV – a turntable designed to blend the retro and modern vibe, hence the initials! By combining the past turntable and modern technology, RMV brings the past and the present together in a naturally harmonious manner. This design allows people to feel both analog and digital sensibilities unique to the turntable. It lets you enjoy listening to music using mobile phones, headsets, and speakers via Bluetooth. RMV is not heavier than traditional turntable in form and each CMF detail has been carefully picked to make sure it suits pretty much every interior setup. Its aesthetic pursues spatiality and morphological sophistication with minimal design.
Dadaism J’s desk heater wears a glossy, retro finish and takes a vertical, cylindrical shape to easily fit onto any desk in any office. Dadaism J’s portable Desk Heater is a wired appliance that works in a similar fashion to traditional space heaters, by simply plugging the Desk Heater’s cord into the wall, the appliance disperses warm air into the room. Embedded inside Desk Heater’s main compartment, heat coils convert the electrical energy into heat, sending it through the heater’s diagonal plastic grating. Throughout Desk Heater’s build, minimalist accents like the grating give the appliance a finished look. Desk Heater echoes the design language of retro ‘50s home appliances through its slick, glossy finish, but packs the heat with an intuitive control panel fit for today.
Riding on the retro-wave is Retio, an all-in-one retro radio, Bluetooth speaker, and clock that comes with a simple, sophisticated, steampunk-inspired design. Handcrafted in California, the Retio comes with a Walnut wood body surrounded by a brass accent, a fabric frontal clad, beautifully knurled brass knobs, and the Retio’s pièce de résistance, a display crafted from four genuine vintage Nixie tubes! A portmanteau of the words Retro and Radio, Retio focuses on the sheer beauty of artifacts from the decades gone by. It harks back to a simpler time but showcases the incredibly complex 70-year old nixie-tube technology that remains equally captivating even today. The tubes are genuine vintages, having been built more than 30 years ago but preserved in mint condition.
The new JBL SA750 takes me back to my childhood home’s downstairs audio system, coated in aluminum with teak wood veneer side paneling and stainless steel, sheathed control knobs for sensitive tuning. JBL’s SA750 offers a mellowed upgrade from the audio giant’s amplifiers of the 60s and 70s. With most of the front panel on the SA750 maintaining the original interface of dials and knobs from the late 20th century 600 and 660 SA models, some key differences were made, however, in order to accommodate modern-day technology. Doubling the SA600’s single audio jack for two, one for headphones and one for an aux cord, the new JBL SA750 offers options for both solo and group listening. The new hi-fi amp is also geared for Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, or UPnP connectivity and can transition between MC and MM to generate the signal for users hoping to plug in their pre-amp.
The Baseus Personal Refridgerator concept by Jiujiu Hu certainly falls in the aesthetic category but that doesn’t stop us from loving it any lesser! With a form factor that merges an almost android design with that of a retro TV, this portable personal refrigerator is here to serve us, literally. The heat of summer is upon us, anything that is cold or chilled is in demand. This cute robot-like design with its shiny reflective surface (truly it only needs big eyes to make us fall in love even more) and its leather strap is a way cooler alternative to the old-school icebox or coolers we lug around everywhere (can you imagine how much cooler Netflix and chill would be with this by your side?).
There is this thing about vinyl, only someone who owns a collection – big or small – would know. Yes, the glorious sound is one of them and you would agree to that, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. It is actually the overall experience with these fragile records that you just cannot have enough of. If you know what we mean, you would be anything but lured by the fine lines and details of this luxurious gramophone. You’d be yearning for one to play your collection! Designed by Moiless, a studio that believes designing is like writing a novel – it’s about telling a story and expressing feelings. The atelier thrives on designing and manufacturing emotional items and their record player does just that for fanatics who cherish the conventional way to replay the sound of music. Featuring a seamless design it comes integrated into a wooden rack, which houses a speaker system right under the player, and has an opening to stack your vinyl collection below.
The Split Drum washing machine has three separate sections, so you can wash all your supposedly “un-mixable” clothes in one load. The boards are also removable for additional flexibility. After all, not everyone has an equal ratio of dark, light, and white clothing in their closet. In addition to solving an issue that has inconvenienced young adults for years, the Split Drum is very pleasing to look at. The white color and the gold accents give the machine a bright yet retro-inspired feel that I think fits the personality of many young professionals. The Split Drum is not an appliance that will be hidden away in a basement – because what young 20-something can afford a two-floor apartment?
Featuring an adorable square shape, the R1 Deluxe Bluetooth Radio carries a very retro-esque charm, however, its functionality is deeply rooted in the present. Equipped with the latest OLED display, the display showcases the song you’re listening to, the time, and any alarm details you may have set. No matter which angle you may view it from, the display is always legible, retaining its readability from every position. The brightness can be adjusted according to your needs. What makes the stereo even more interesting is its RotoDial controller! Radios usually tend to be accompanied by a bunch of dials and knobs, however, Ruark Audio’s trademark RotoDial eliminates the need for multiple buttons, allowing easy access and control of the radio.
Designer Jieun Jeong hit the nail on the head with the YouTube Radio concept. I’m interested in the categories and the channels, and the randomness of the picks that YT intuitively plays out for me. And this is one of the key functionalities of this concept. Envisioned as an analog radio, the YouTube Radio provides an interface that delivers content through sound. Taking inspiration from the YT icon as well as the TV and radio sets from the 70s and 80s, we have a device that features a radio, dial, pen, buttons, and a holder.