It is always encouraging when good design of the past influences good design of the future. This approach to design could be boiled down to a philosophy of ‘different, but familiar.’ And it is this philosophy that has been adopted by Korean industrial designer Jeong Hyun Ahn, beautifully represented throughout his body of work, but particularly so with his latest conceptual offering—Canvas.
Canvas is a standalone speaker inspired by the form of a pure white canvas with a design language that is strongly influenced by that of the great German industrial designer, Dieter Rams.
Paintings by all artists start with a canvas of pure white before beautiful paintings are painted. Whether it’s surrealism, realism, or abstraction, all the paintings are drawn on canvas. Inspired by this, I designed a canvas-like speaker that could draw any genre of music.
Blending the lines between electronics and furniture, Canvas is constructed in a stainless steel frame, which allows it to be easily positioned in any space. The speaker features a clean volume and playback button located at the eye level that anyone can feel with their fingertips through intuitive use. At the rear of the device, the power and Bluetooth buttons are positioned at the top, whereas the power line and USB ports are separated—positioned at the bottom for better accessibility—not dissimilar to an iMac.
Because Canvas is positioned at a 75 degree angle, the speaker is oriented upwards, providing a formative sense of stability at the same time. One particularly notable aspect of the Canvas design is the smooth front-facing appearance, which is devoid of any buttons or branded elements. It is clean and incredibly minimal.
The Canvas Speaker certainly has familiar elements to it, but it is also undoubtedly different. The design draws from the best historical influences resulting in a household object that is not only usable and intuitive, but one that is also aesthetic.