Smart home devices might have the edge when it comes to convenience, but Echo and Alexa are not winning any beauty contests. Opinions about the auditory experience will vary, but from the design perspective, the countertop imaginary assistant is nowhere near as cool as this new blue tooth speaker for Bunaco by nendo.
Bringing its heart-skipping ingenuity to the audio scene, the heralded Japanese studio unveiled this clarion design ($1,200) with a materials-first approach. The speaker features beech wood, which is Bunaco’s specialty. The Japanese company was established in the mid-1950s and known for their classic handcrafted lamps, bowls, and accessories thanks to an abundance of beech trees growing in Aomori prefecture in Japan. The nendo team explored the material—how it resists water and cracking, and how it produces a uniquely clear and soft tone.
By rolling beech into thin, narrow strips, the team created a coil-based shape, which formed the essence of the design. This omni-directional speaker with a vertically standing diaphragm was the result. Housing the piece in a transparent acrylic cylinder enhances the acoustic quality and spatial distribution, as well as the visual appeal. Buanco’s handcraftsmanship is on display in the body of the speaker and as well as the curled, unfinished edge, which extends like continuum and suggests, however literally, that pure design is infinite. The end result is an organic visual experience that very nearly radiates life via the handcrafted spirals of beech wood, delivering a visual display that’s every bit as beautiful as the music it plays. And perhaps more beautiful, depending upon whether you let your children choose the playlist.
Of his approach to creating electronics, nendo founder Oki Sato has said, “I think the technology shouldn’t look like technology; it should look like something in your grandmother’s room, and it should blend into everyday life,” in an interview with Dezeen. “It shouldn’t distract you, and it should be linked with your feelings and your emotions.”