RON ARAD (B. 1951)
RON ARAD (B. 1951)
RON ARAD (B. 1951)
RON ARAD (B. 1951)
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Please note that at our discretion some lots may b… Read more
RON ARAD (B. 1951)

A Rare 'Concrete Stereo'

RON ARAD (B. 1951)
A Rare 'Concrete Stereo'
executed by One-Off Ltd., London
concrete, rubber, electrical components, steel rods, acrylic, comprising turntable, amplifier and two floor-standing speakers
turntable and amplifier each 16 x 20 in. (41 x 51 cm.)
each speaker 35 ¾ x 8 x 8 in. (91 x 20 x 20 cm.)
Designed 1984, executed 1986. This work is from the production of approximately 10 examples.

Other examples of 'Concrete Stereo' are currently in the permanent collections of:
Victoria & Albert Museum, London;
SFMoMA, San Francisco;
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam;
Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg;
Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein.
Acquired directly from the designer by the present owner, 1986.
Other examples illustrated:
D. Sudjic, Ron Arad, Restless Furniture, London, 1989, pp. 55-57.
R. Arad, One Offs & Short Runs, exh. cat., Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 1990, p. 97.
D. Sudjic, Ron Arad, London, 1999, pp. 18-19.
P. Fiell, Design of the Twentieth Century, Köln, 1999, p. 571.
M. Collings, Ron Arad talks to Matthew Collings, London, 2004, p. 56.
P. Antonelli, J.S. Foer, M.-L. Jousset, Ron Arad, No Discipline, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2009, p. 30.

Special notice
Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email:

Brought to you by

Jeremy Morrison
Jeremy Morrison

Lot Essay

The Concrete Stereo is amongst Arad’s earliest designs, and remains amongst his most iconic – an early celebration of the designer’s charged spirit – and of an iconoclastic energy that has remained undiminished to the present day. First created in 1983, approximately ten stereos were produced of which five are today retained in major international museum collections.

In retrospect, the Concrete Stereo offers lucid resonance to the social, political and artistic environment in which it was created. Arriving in London as a student at the Architectural Association, the time-worn personality of the city appealed to Arad, who observed “Part of the attraction of coming to London in the 1970s was seeing part-demolished buildings. You could still see bomb sites and re-developments with half-flattened houses revealing old wallpaper and fireplaces stacked one about the other” (Sudjic, op. cit., 1999, p. 17). Although social unease remained a contrasting feature of Britain throughout the 1980s, financial deregulation soon generated rapid wealth for Britain’s banking and financial industries, which began to trickle to many in London’s professional classes. An almost immediate consequence of the new wealth now available to the fortunate, was the rise of the consumer object – especially audio equipment – as a status symbol.

If audio equipment was now to be considered as an aspirational status symbol, then Arad’s Concrete Stereo acknowledged – and duly subverted this. The price was not inconsiderable – the present owner paid of £1,175 in June 1986 for this system commissioned directly from Arad the summer before. Technically the system delivered quality acoustics, improved – according to the current owner – if the system was used on a concrete floor, an environment no doubt appropriately suited to the shattered personality of the device. Dispensing with the sleek casings preferred by commercial manufacturers, Arad dismantled and isolated the components, some battered and apparently useless, sewn, partially-submerged and congealed within quick-drying concrete to subvert any suggestion of effective performance.

This was design as social metaphor. The Concrete Stereo is amongst Arad’s most eloquent designs, and must certainly be assessed as one of the most important and erudite works, by any creator, of this turbulent and contradictory era. Museum curators were not slow to recognise its cultural importance, and today examples may be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam, and the Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden. An example is also held by the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, and was recently exhibited Ron Arad: Yes to the Uncommon! June – October 2018.

Christie's would like to thank Caroline Thorman of Ron Arad Associates for her assistance with the cataloguing of the present lot.

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