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Brief Published: 12 May 2017

Audio Systems Reconsidered

Clockwise L-R: Urbanears, Master & Dynamic, Bang & Olufsen

Home sound systems are moving away from conventional stereo sets and seamlessly blending into interiors. Meanwhile, material innovation and customisable user interfaces offer new audio experiences.

  • Colourful Tech: Swedish company Urbanears’ wireless Connected Speakers are designed to unobtrusively sit within a domestic environment. The compact squares can be stacked like building blocks, and pairing more than two together creates a synchronised multi-room audio system. The speakers’ fabric wraps come in neutral colours as well as on-trend indigo, botanical green and pink.
  • Enhancing Sound: The sculptural MA770 speaker, designed by British architect David Adjaye for New York-based audio brand Master & Dynamic, is made of a specially developed concrete composite. This material offers various acoustic benefits for a clearer sound, such as reduced resonance and increased dampening. The dampening properties are so advanced that even at full volume, the speaker doesn’t emit any vibrations. 
  • Customised Interaction: For its new portable P2 speaker, Danish brand Bang & Olufsen has replaced buttons with voice and gesture controls such as tapping or shaking. Users can customise these interactions by linking gestures to functionalities in the accompanying Beoplay app. The pocket-sized, pill-shaped speaker is made of aluminium and features a leather strap.

For more on how sound innovations are being integrated into the interior, see Sound and Acoustics in Milan 2017: Accessories & Textiles. See also CES 2017 for more on blended aesthetics.