What goes into creating a speaker like Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound Shape?
If there was ever a speaker to be labelled as an investment piece, the Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound Shape would be it. It's unbelievably chic, ethereal, and one-of-a-kind. The wall-mounted wireless speaker can definitely pass off as a valuable piece of art in your living room. We don't blame you for staring — in fact, it's rude not to.
What's harder to believe is that underneath its modular shell, is a smartly designed speaker, strung together with a unique formula of acoustics, dampening systems, and a wireless unit. How? We had the same burning questions — so we checked in with its creator Anders Buchmann (who's also Chief Intrapreneur at Bang & Olfusen), to find out what transpired this revolutionary off-the-wall speaker.
What brought you here to Bang & Olufsen?
I was in several advertising agencies before moving to Bang & Olufsen. At that time, they wanted to start an experimential unit of conceptualising an entirely new product — and as cliché as it sounds, I think it was a bit of a destiny call. For me, it was time for a challenge — which was why I applied for the job and ended up getting it.
Tell us more about this stunning speaker.
It is nothing like what the brand has ever done before and there's none like it in the marketplace. It is somewhere right in between art, interior design, and sound. BeoSound Shape is a product that people didn't know that they had a need for, because it isn't all about a speaker nor is it entirely art. It's somewhere in between that. But now that we have launched it, it makes sense to people. It is about having technology that blends in when you're not using it, and stands out when you're using it.
What were you and your team inspired by?
We wanted to make a speaker that didn't just create sound but also dampen sound at the same time. The final shape of the design was taken straight out of a beehive, and we really liked how it was about the simplicity and activity in the design. An interesting point to our design element is that it isn't finalised till the consumer decides on its customisation. They call the final shots — whether it be the colour or the number of tiles. The least you can go with is six tiles, which comes with the basic formula of two speakers, an amplifier, two dampeners for acoustics, a wireless unit for Bluetooth and Airplay, and one tile to cover the power outlet so it eliminates any wires from your wall. From there, you can go up to an infinite amount — depending on how big you want it to be, or rather how big your room really is.
What were some challenges in developing this masterpiece?
Oh, many (laughs). I think in customisation, comes a huge headache for the company — but that's just the way the world is going. We as consumers want and demand customisation, and it's going to be ever-present. It's not about hearing what they say they want, it is also about learning what they don't know they want or what they need. That's when you go from making a good product to making a great product.
What are your favourite features about this product?
I love that the design process isn't a conclusive one. So in my own space, which is a rented space — I wasn't able to pull out power in the middle of the wall but yet the BeoSound Shape could go down and catch it at the bottom of the wall on the floor. It can adapt itself to such specific cases so I think it's pretty amazing.
What are some features most people don't know about?
How permanent it really is. Sure, you do mount it on your wall, and yes, there will be some holes but you can build it in your own way. Let's say you start in your late 20s, and you start with six or eight tiles. Then you move into your next apartment — not only can you take it with you but you can also rearrange and buy more tiles. You can keep changing the colours so it's like keeping a piece of furniture that you can move in with. It adapts to the next home you might have in the future, and the new life that you want to live in the future.
Ready for your first Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Shape? Click here to find out more.