How do you make a product that fits in and stands out at the same time? That is the question asked by the designers and engineers at Bang & Olufsen when they set out to make the BeoSound 1 wireless speaker. The concept-driven Danish electronics company has earned devoted fans who want audio devices that deliver incredible sound and bespoke objects to curate their lives. In collaboration with Sotheby’s, Bang & Olufsen has done some curating of its own by assembling a capsule collection of five BeoSound 1 wireless speakers in never-before-seen colors: tan, orange, maroon, pink and gray. A special online sale 5–18 July is your chance to get one – or all five – B&O models. What’s so special about these speakers? Read on.
You Will Never See These Five Colors Again
Coming directly from Bang & Olufsen’s headquarters in Struer, Denmark, the five speakers are not available on the market and will never be reproduced. Although originally produced as one-offs for a trade show, these were not hastily made samples: to properly achieve the matte finish of even a single prototype, B&O had to cease normal production in its state-of-the-art factory, where robot cranes move the components in and out of specially prepared acid baths.
Danish Design is Forever Cool
Bang & Olufsen was founded in 1925 on the principles of utility and material followed by the great modern Danish designers, from Kaare Klint in the 1920s to Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl and other mid-century names whose comfortable, clean-lined furniture remains wildly popular today. Their influence informs the work of the current generation of innovators such as BeoSound designer Torsten Valeur. “Simplicity is paramount,” said Valeur of the BeoSound. “Our goal is to create a uniform expression on the surface – so what you experience is solidness and a design that has been reduced with precision.”
They Don’t Look Like Speakers
Eliminating dissonance from joints and corners, the cone provides optimal acoustics, but the sculptural shape is also appealing to the design-conscious audiophile, those with limited space or anyone who believes a speaker should be heard but not seen. Their compact shape allows for total flexibility in terms of placement.
Bang & Olufsen’s Legendary Sound Quality
The conical body of BeoSound 1 hovers slightly above the surface, releasing thumps of bass from beneath. At the top, which is slightly open, the speaker driver plays downwards into a reflector, creating an evenly distributed, spherical sound profile. “Our dream was to create something that resembled a musical instrument – a product where every part conveys its purpose, which is to spread music,” explains Valeur.
BeoSound Feels Your Presence
The top of the speaker functions as a minimalistic control panel – you simply turn it like a wheel to adjust the volume, and swipe and tap to control everything else. “They have proximity sensors, which means that they detect where you are approaching from,” says Valeur. “It’s one of these magic tricks you don’t realize right away.”
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 1 | Capsule Collection, 5–18 July.
Sotheby’s and Bang & Olufsen are partners in celebrating innovative design with By Design, Presented by Bang & Olufsen, a series of stories and videos on Sothebys.com.
IMAGES COURTESY OF BANG & OLUFSEN.