The call for nostalgia is usually regarded as a downfall of design. To appropriate old elements for new designs is a taboo within the industry. But instances where designers derive basic elements from classic items and reinterpret them to apply in the contemporary market have resulted in many innovative and beautiful ideas—one of them being the Magne Turntable by Bergmann Audio.
Based in Denmark, Bergmann Audio aims to combine design and audile experience into products that reflect simplicity and Scandinavian design culture. With their keen eyes and overflowing passion for music, the brand focuses on what matters to them—sound. The way that Bergmann perceives it is poetic, as manager Johnnie Bergmann Rasmussen puts it: “Experience the music as the composers meant it to be.” It’s ambitious to offer such a statement, but with the elegance and thoughtfulness given to their products—especially Magne—they are promising what they are capable of delivering.
Magne is a reinvented classic symphonic turntable that carries a more modern look and feel. The product borrows its name—Magne—from the son of Thor in Nordic mythology. Magne possessed divine strength, and the design reflects that vitality. Made with minimal geometry, each metal plate and component complements one another by emulating an aggressiveness, cutting into each other with great precision at 90-degree angles. Being an air-bearing turntable, Magne gives undisrupted tunes with brilliant clarity. The goal for the design was to “create linear tracking air bearing tonearms with as few components as possible.” Understandably, that will eliminate any unnecessary decorative features that could act as an aesthetically but functionally disruptive element to the turntable itself.
With fewer parts, the team was able to focus their attention on the smallest details presented in the symmetrical metallic pins and screws. Complex looking, the details completely contrast with the overall minimalistic design, yet managed to stay subtly elegant. Those aspects are what make this a truly formal instrument. The material choices, colour schemes, and thresholds help bring this object to a high level of articulation, turning an ordinary household item into a piece of art.
Often, modern designs are not associated with adjectives such as nostalgic or romantic, but Magne Turntable represents those values. In a way, this design looks new and advanced, but it gives a familiar feeling to its users. The improved function carries along the handsomeness of bare necessities, igniting some kind of nostalgia in those who look for retro throwbacks in this modern world. Romance enwraps this art piece in its references to Nordic mythology, acting as a connection between old and new, death and rebirth. It narrows the gap between this generation and the past, either through music or through the concept behind this instrument.
Adapting a vintage music player with an ancient myth, Bergmann defies the misconception about nostalgia to create a majestic minimal piece of art that is Magne. Not only does it encapsulate a vintage air through a contemporary outlook, but it also upgrades the very basic functionality through simplicity. Now that is successful design.
This article was originally published in Minimalissimo Nº2