Never has the maxim ‘less is more’ been so prevalent in modern design. Thanks to quite staggering advances in technology modern products are frequently being stripped back of all unnecessary elements, often maximising performance in the process, while also letting the purity of their design shine through. These stripped back models mean bold decisions often have to be made.
Some changes have been controversial, such as Apple removing the 3.5mm headphone jack and utilising the lightning charger port as a headphone input. This decision, and also removing the USB ports on its most recent MacBook Pro, was given a mixed bag of reviews as many felt it was simply an opportunity to monetise these functions as optional extras. However, Phil Schaffer (Apple’s senior vice president) explained the reason for the alterations was, “Courage. The courage to move on, to do something new that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage”. Which simply epitomises why the technology and design market forcibly needs ingenuity and experimentalism when they create something new.
Enter the Beoplay P2, stage left. When Beoplay was thinking how to create a speaker with a truly personal aesthetic there was a complete element of courage when the Tap ‘n’ Shake function was conceived. This device has only one button, to turn the device on and off, every other function can be controlled by the touch sensitive face of the speaker and by gripping and flicking the order of the track-list with your wrist. These functions are completely customisable by the user via the Beoplay App.
Obstacles were to be expected during its conception, as when you are nuancing a Bluetooth speaker to have gesture controls; where is the line drawn between deliberate movement and unintentional movement? So, the clever-clogs at Beoplay made the speaker’s controls only accessible when held at a 45° angle, to prevent any unwanted changing of tunes when on the move.
The P2 is a complete anomaly in such a saturated Bluetooth speaker market, it accounts to nobody and is matched by very few for sound quality. The avant-garde nature of avoiding the status quo, as with other market-leaders, shows that the courage is completely justified. However, modern design that draws inspiration from classic themes is just as courageous as bold new statements.
This is something that German television designers Loewe has done with their latest model, the Bild 9. Drawing inspiration from the ‘Roaring Twenties’, Bauhaus and Art Deco glamour, Loewe’s London-based creative director Bodo Sperlein has fashioned a TV that beautifully blends traditional geometric shapes and materials with state-of-the-art 21st century tech. What it shares with P2 is the bravery and boldness to let the striking styling shine through, rather than technology dominating the design.
The fortitude shown by Loewe and Beoplay with their latest designs is one of having the bravery to leave things out. It is the confidence of not having to shout about the undisputed cutting-edge technology within. Brands which have this understated confidence in their products, they’re the true pioneers, courageously covering new ground in design.