Italian electronics company Brionvega has been releasing quality, timeless products since its inception in Milan in 1945. Some of the most iconic examples include the portable Algol TV and the RadioFonografo radio/turntable combo. The Brionvega RR231 Totem stereo system may be less recognisable comparatively, but with the 50th-anniversary re-release, it’s finally getting the attention it’s always deserved.
The original Totem was conceived by renowned architect and designer Mario Bellini in 1970 and launched in 1971 by Brionvega. When the system is closed, it’s just a white cube with a height of 20.5 inches, presented in the most minimalistic and simple form. Once opened, the speakers and the control fascia with radio and turntable are revealed — the speakers can be cleverly oriented or separated from the base, with the cabinet being made of hand-lacquered PDF wood.
While the form of the special Totem re-edition stays true to its roots, the technology has been substantially updated. Each speaker is now equipped with one reflex-loading woofer, one mid-woofer, and one tweeter, and is more than enough for a medium to large room. Like most recent releases, the new Totem provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for simple connectivity. There’s also a USB 5v output in addition to two RCA audio inputs and an RCA output jack.
Made by artisans in Italy, each example of the RR231 Totem is numbered and features Mario Bellini’s signature.