Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Design within reach

Simple Music Player, 2014. Designed by Lyndon Owen, Maurice Thompson and Bruce Barnet. Courtesy Cooper Hewitt.

The Cooper-Hewitt’s latest exhibition clarifies why accessible design is not a privilege, but a right

They don’t call it a radio, because who has a radio anymore? Yet the brick-like shape; the round, cloth-covered speaker; and the two oversized controls say “radio” to anyone born in the first half of the 20th century.

Even if you have dementia, you can see the box on a countertop, say, and intuitively know that it plays music. And if you touch the box, you’ll find only two possible actions: Press the oblong button (nothing happens) or lift the lid on top.

Voila! Music.