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Wireless headphones, noise cancelling headphones, a Spotify membership so every member of the family can enjoy their own music without forcing the others to listen: the large solid wooden speakers have vanished, the hi-fi systems which used to make the house tremble have disappeared completely, Fender guitars and Marshall amps have been moved to the cellar. Sometimes, someone shares a playlist using a silent Whatsapp message. Music is still here, but you can’t hear it.
But there are changes. Helped by the widespread use of devices which are always connected and able to dialogue with us, answer our questions and help us throughout our day-to-day lives – just like Alexa, Siri and the Google Assistant – home speakers are making a comeback. And the design world won’t miss this chance.
Almost everyone has a vinyl record at home. One of your parents’ vintage records, a brand-new record by a band or a DJ who has seized a chance to make the most of the big comeback of the “rustling-sound”. But where is it? In the best-case scenario, it’s framed and sits on the top shelf of a bookcase, like a trophy. It’s high time to break the emergency glass and to play it on a Crosley turntable.
Crosley is the moniker (to be read as a pseudonym) the kids of Louisville adopted for their record players: it’s a nod to Powel Crosley Junior (1886-1961), this man didn’t invent the radio but – by building a version for 7 dollars, instead of 100 dollars which was the customary price of a radio at the beginning of the twenties – he has made it into what it is now: music for everybody. Top quality materials and detailing, a refined product which conceals its debt to the latest technology as far as reproducing sound and rustling, bluetooth and an affordable price are concerned. This is design, too.
They had already been spotted at the 2017 Salone del Mobile: an increase in the production of soundproof panels goes hand in hand with the popularity of open-plan spaces. And also in this case, by mixing together technology, need and design, artists have produced something that is completely new and extraordinary: three-dimensional decorations which exponentially increase a building's ability to absorb sound.
Do you remember the egg cartons used by your best friend in his recording studio? This is on the same principle, but better executed. Walls by American brand Submaterial see no need to reveal their function, their real nature, to be admired.
What are those hexagons upholstered in Kvadrat textiles – like our Rodolfo sofa – and mounted on the living room walls? They represent the next step, the thing we would never imagine it could lead to, they are by Bang & Olufsen. The same brand of the past? Yes, the Danish brand which has been at the forefront of audio systems for over 90 years – and it’s not just a coincidence. BeoSound Shape is their latest stroke of genius: this audio system is an integral part of the décor, up to the point it disappears becoming the décor itself.
The design is elegant, modular and can be customised: just like it ought to be. 100% Scandinavian style, due to land on the market this autumn, coming directly from the Danish town of Struer.