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The MB&F Nixie Machine II

May 11, 2017

The brainchild of Maximilian Busser, the M.A.D (Mechanical Art Devices) Gallery was conceived five years ago to showcase the work of MB&F as well as some of the most creative mechanical devices of our time. The first M.A.D gallery opened in 2011, in Geneva's Rue Verdaine in the heart of the city’s old town. Following the success of the first, a second gallery was opened in Taipei in 2014 and a third in Dubai in 2016. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Gallery, M.A.D has teamed up with Frank Buchwald, a member of the initial line-up of artists at the inauguration of the Geneva Gallery, to create the Nixie Machine II.

Famous for his incredible hand-made “Machine Lights” standing lamps, Frank Buchwald has been described by Mr. Busser himself to be a fascination, and his work as the foundational “cornerstone of the M.A.D Gallery.” Creating everything by hand in his workshop in Berlin, Buchwald has rightly earned himself a permanent exhibit in the M.A.D Galleries around the world.

The Nixie Machine II draws inspiration from the first Nixie Machine created by Buchwald for M.A.D, and represents its next evolution and the continuation of the friendship between Buchwald and M.A.D. Using Nixie tubes, glass tubes filled with low-pressure neon gasses, the Nixie Machine II tells the time in a beautiful steam-punk display. These tubes were made by engineer Dalibor Farny, who first met Buchwald in an exhibition in Berlin. Each tube features an inner structure awash with honeycomb grids and tungsten wires smelted with glass lighting up the digits encapsulated in brown glass cylinders.


Away from the time display, the architecture of Buchwald’s creation features his distinctive postmodern design principles. Measuring 1.2 meters, the steel-and-brass machine sports insect-like limbs reminiscent of the first Nixie Machine. These limbs support the central body while steel brackets grip onto the nixie tubes, providing an aesthetic balance to the creation.

Unrelenting in its innovative streak, the Nixie Machine II features an electronic heart. Based on a Wi-Fi enabled dock, the Machine II is connected to the internet to automatically keep accurate time. All other settings, which include scroll effects, digit light dimming and time zone settings, can also be programmed online.

The Nixie Machine II is a limited edition of 12 pieces, available at all three M.A.D Galleries. It is priced at around US$30,000.