David Bowie’s Stereo is Just as Magnificent as You’d Expect

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David Bowie’s Stereo is Just as Magnificent as You’d Expect

Compiled out of passion and fueled by personal interest, on November the 11th some of the Thin White Duke’s £10 Million art collection will go on sale.

Despite pieces by the likes of Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach and Stanley Spencer, many eyes will be drawn to a few fascinating objects. Especially that of Memphis Furniture. It’s now known that before his death earlier this year, Bowie was an avid yet discreet collector of works by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Milan-based Memphis group. His stereo is an item of pure beauty.

The “stereo radiophonograph” Brionvega RR126 was designed by architects Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni in 1965.

The “stereo radiophonograph” Brionvega RR126 was designed by architects Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni in 1965.

Featuring all the class of the of the 60s, this is a wonderful, ground-breaking design. You can move the speakers, change the shape of the object, turn it into a cube. It’s one of the pieces from the pop art era that totally changed the format of what a record player could look like.

It's mobile too. Fitted with wheels allowing easy transport.

It’s mobile too. Fitted with wheels allowing easy transport.

This Italian system has a radio and record player, with speakers that are adjustable, able to be used at the side or on the top when not required. Oh yes, it’s on wheels too, so can move around the room.

Its modular structure allows you to “mould” it, stacking the speakers to form a cube or aligning them into a long and narrow arrangement.

Its modular structure allows you to “mould” it, stacking the speakers to form a cube or aligning them into a long and narrow arrangement.

The RR126 is a high-fidelity stereo that was a great novelty at the time it was launched on the market. Its wood cabinet and speakers are made by hand, which is why no two pieces are ever exactly identical. And this “serial diversity” has made it a timeless success.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni's radio-phonograph

Its guide price is expected to reach over £1,500 when put up for auction at Sothebys. However, a recent listing on Ebay, with no affiliation to Bowie, fetched over £4,000. Despite rising to prominence in the 60s, it wouldn’t look too out of place in the 21st century home.