by guest contributor Graham Powell*
Bang & Olufsen’s latest catalogue dropped through the letterbox the other day with some rather tasty new audio offerings from a company that has always been synonymous with style and sound. Attention to every detail and of course cracking sound quality come as standard with B&O… and we wouldn’t expect anything less. Their latest offerings, I am pleased to say, do not disappoint for those who appreciate the looking as much as the listening.
Aesthetically, audio products generally attempt to either shout out their technical prowess, bristling with controls and ‘masculine’ semantics or alternatively to blend into the home interior in order to appease the supposedly ‘feminine’ technophobe. These Beoplay products, bridge those two extremes with a confidence that doesn’t need to shout or apologize, and in doing so have a universal appeal that demonstrates quality product design with an understated confidence.
The beautiful Beoplay A9 stereo unit (above) has a something about it, that those like me who covet ‘classic’ electrical and electronic objects, will find reassuringly familiar. Imagine mating an early Quad electrostatic speaker with a Sofono electric heater (both from the 1950s) and things start to add up. Three Ercol-like wooden legs support this flying saucer unit and ‘hey-up’… retro futurist domestication is achieved with perfection. If the A9’s elegant looks don’t get you then the clever touch sensitive ‘stroking/swiping’ control around its rim will surely clinch the deal.
Early quad electrostatic speaker, Sofono electric heater, Ercol nest of tables.
Alternatively, if it’s something more manageable, spatially, that you are looking for then the Bug-eyed A8 one-piece stereo continues the tradition of the circular. B&O’s early design mastery of the magician’s trickery with façade, depth and perceived ‘thinness’ (an art often copied by the likes of Apple et al), delivers perhaps the ultimate place to park your iPod or iPhone - full to bursting with the tunes of your choosing.
Smaller still, and eminently more portable, is the Beolit 12 airplay speaker unit. With an elegance of the early Braun products finished with an offset handbag-esque diagonal leather strap that has echoes of a classic Roberts radio, the Beolit 12 is just asking to be taken with you - wherever you go.
All that is left to say then is… that I want them all (please)!
*The unseen critic, adviser and above all, continued support behind Design Hunter is my husband Graham. As a product designer, who currently runs a postgraduate design programme, he provides a wealth of inspiration for this blog. I'm delighted to have finally persuaded him to write a guest post for Design Hunter. I hope it will be the first of many - Helen.
You can follow Graham on Twitter @GrahamPowell_