New York based multidisciplinary designer, Joe Doucet is the creator behind the simple, but certainly attractive little wireless Prism Speaker – the result of his first collaboration with the French producer of design, Lexon. As one product of Lexon’s Prism collection, which includes a clock and clock radio, the Prism Speaker measures only 8 x 8 x 8cm. It also features integrated touch controls, an in-built rechargeable battery lasting up to four hours, and an LED battery level indicator. For optimal acoustics, the speaker is reminiscent of a cube sinking into the surface upon which it rests. Prism is available in black, aluminium, and white.
Iconico portable speaker, created by Héctor Serrano for French brand Lexon, is a thing of visual and functional simplicity. Intended to be used with mobile phones, it connects to an audio source via a 3.5 millimetre stereo audio cable. And if you want to silence Iconico, simply turn it over and muffle the sound against the table. No buttons to push, I like that. Here is what designer says about the piece: It’s a playful, intuitive and simple object to listen to your music everywhere in high sound quality. Iconico is made of ABS plastic and comes in dark grey and white.
Teenage Engineering, a Stockholm based studio known for their simplistic industrial design, have recently unveiled the OD-11 Cloud Speaker – a wireless speaker that allows music to be streamed from cloud services. Combine this with integrated WiFi and an optional magnetic wireless Bluetooth volume remote, and you have yourself a great cloud music experience. Inside the (26 x 26 x 26 cm) minimalist cubic form, you will find a 100w class D amplifier with filters and a DSP in an attempt to deliver the best possible sound. Certainly a high-end product at $800, but it does appear to be an impressive piece of engineering and design.
Hannes Harms, a German industrial designer and graduate from the Royal College of Art, recently completed and presented his latest design of the stylish Flat Boombox – a minimal personal audio solution consisting of a perforated sheet of acid-etched stainless steel. Harms explains: For this speaker, I decided to focus on the idea of the flatness of future electrical components. I wanted to reduce manufacturing processes as well as material and volume. This speaker is made out of a flat sheet of 0.5mm stainless steel, holding a flat speaker component in place. I love the fact the flat sheet can be easily bent in scored lines as a home assembly. I’d be very interested to discover the sound quality for this speaker. Even so, there’s little denying this is a very creative piece of design.
As we get closer to closing 2011, I thought it would be worthwile to re-visit somebody who has been featured on Minimalissimo multiple times for his visionary approach in design that never goes of out style: German industrial designer Dieter Rams. Already in the early 1980s and as a chief designer for Braun, Dieter Rams was aware and concerned by the state of the material world around him. Surrounded by what he called “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noise” he created ten principles of good design that I found appropriate to feature before we enter 2012, another year full of creativity and design. 1. Good design is innovative 2. Good design makes a product useful 3. Good design is aesthetic 4. Good design helps us to understand a product 5. Good design is unobtrusive 6. Good design is honest 7. Good design is durable 8. Good design is consequent to the last detail 9. Good design is concerned with the environment 10. Good design is as little design as possible With Mr. Rams’ words in mind, I hope you find it inspiring to either design or appreciate the design that is Good Design.
The latest product by Audyssey, a Los Angeles based audio technology company, is the Lower East Side Audio Dock Air. This speaker with frank appearance streams music wireless from your personal devices such as computer, iPhone and iPad. Audyssey solved small speaker distortion and other typical acoustic problems and you can enjoy a rich, clear and balanced sound. I love the ribbon ‘wrapped’ around the speaker and houses the interface. Unfortunately you can not charge the dock and thus always have to rely on a power connection.
Industrial designers John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen from Australia and Vitor Santa Maria from Brazil have collaborated to design the HiddenRadio, which is currently being funded through Kickstarter. Their approach to their work is simple product design that is both innovative and intuitive. The minimal HiddenRadio & Bluetooth Speaker design connects and captivates the user through its intuitive functionality. When asleep it hides all its functions. To turn it on you simply twist and lift the cap. The further you lift the cap the more internal volume is created and will amplify to over 80dB of crystal clear sound. Although it offers Bluetooth technology, if you don’t have a Bluetooth device, a 3.5mm audio input plug is available. The battery life is also an impressive feature, offering over 30 hours of power. A beautiful, unobtrusive and simple device, which I think is well worth backing.
To mark the occasion of its 60th birthday, the well known speaker manufacturer Elipson is honoring the landmark models that have shaped its history. The first speaker to gain fame was the famous bs 50, an acronym for its full name Staff Ball, 50 cm diameter. Designed in 1953, the bs 50 was created for the first sound and light shows at the Château de Chambord in France. Its ear allowed for precise sound diffusion. Elipson is reproducing this legendary model in today’s material and it is a perfect illustration of minimal design and high quality sound. I love it.
Copenhagen based audio company Libratone have simply one purpose – to liberate sound. Libratone adopt three factors in their single sound source development approach – wireless technology, hi-fi quality and Scandinavian design. Their aim is to deliver a minimal alternative to the typical cluttered sound system without compromising the audio experience. This approach resulted in the design of the Libratone Lounge. A remarkably elegant sound system, which allows one to stream audio wirelessly from an iPhone or iPod through AirPlay. Clad in Italian cashmere wool, the wall-mountable Lounge is available in a range of colours – grey, black and beige to integrate the sound system with the room, or red and green to draw attention and stand out proudly (depending on your interior colours of course). Consider this wish-listed.
Paul Cocksedge, London designer, moulds discarded vinyl records into a range of amplifiers for smartphones in a project called Change the Record. Made by heating and moulding the plastic disks into a funnel shape, they amplify the sound from a phone placed inside simply through the nature of their shape. The speakers were ‘launched’ this year at a live performance to music during Ron Arad’s Curtain Call installation at the Roundhouse in London, where Cocksedge himself was heating and moulding old LPs and encouraging visitors to bring their own 12” record. A simple, elegant and playful way to amplify sounds from your smartphone and recycle to boot!
Italian product designer Emanuele Cecini has recently completed the concept design of the Wi-Fi stereo and docking station, Woozik. The system consists of a stereo, a remote control and two small speakers, supported by a plywood outer casing with a natural ash finish, which also acts as a stand. Compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad, Woozik can also be used via Wi-Fi or bluetooth connection through one’s computer. Primarily thought for home use, the system can be controlled with the remote, but also through the buttons on the stereo itself. The design of Woozik has a beautiful simplicity to it. There is an Apple-style resemblance, yet it manages to achieve its own identity. Although I can’t vouch for the sound quality, Woozik certainly looks an impressive concept.
Anyone who has ever owned a laptop knows that sound quality is never a strong suit for any portable device. LaCie’s Sound² USB powered speakers are an elegant solution for the ubiquitous cacophony of coarse noise emitting from notebook computers. Best of all, Neil Poulton - the renowned Scottish product designer based in Paris – is the man responsible. While most designers have an idiosyncratic style that is purposefully salient, Poulton specializes in inconspicuous simplicity and minimalism. The design is successful in every aspect of its minimal composition. Poulton was able to create an affordable product without compromising any value. The contrasting elements of the black cover to its white base give the speakers an illusion of airy lightness. I also love how the circular extrusion of the speaker is slightly larger than its base, allowing the speaker to slightly prop up toward the user.