Grillo, a revolutionary phone

Telefono Grillo, Marco Zanuso e Richard Sapper, 1966

In 1966, when Siemens launched the Grillo telephone – a masterpiece by the famous industrial design duo Marco Zanuso and Richard Supper – many wondered what in the world that little, strange object, shaped like a seashell, could be.

The Grillo – named “cricket” after the typical ring that resembled the insect’s stridulating – is a revolutionary telephone, half decor item and half extremely functional device for daily use.

It was revolutionary because of its foldable structure, which dissolved the traditional difference between receiver and base. But the real innovation was its release opening system, which activated the receiver. Not to mention its extremely small size, which made it a unique piece. In a way, we could say it was an ancestor to modern “flip phones”.

Obviously, it was meant to win the Compasso d’Oro for its two brilliant “fathers”, Zanuso and Supper, in 1967.

September 23, 2016