Bang & Olufsen, the design of sound
Innovate / Reinvent
As a specialist in luxury audio-visual products, Danish brand Bang & Olufsen is resurrecting old glories from its collections through its Classics program. By Alexis Chenu.
Recently, Danish brand Bang & Olufsen has been celebrating the return of its iconic Beogram 4000 Series turntable. This design treasure that was all the rage in the 70s is now ready to move back into our homes once again. 95 numbered copies are already available. And a new collaboration with Orient Express is reviving the most beautiful sounds within an exclusive lounge trunk.
Signed Jacob Jensen
His name is forever engraved in the history of design. Born in Copenhagen and trained at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts, Jacob Jensen became the very first graduate of an emerging discipline, namely industrial design. He joined the Bernadotte & Bjorn studio and designed his first products including typewriters, intercom systems and X-ray machines before opening his own studio a few years later. In 1962, at a time when the Western world was becoming fascinated with modern comfort, Jacob Jensen signed his first collaboration with Bang & Olufsen. Convinced of the need to adapt technology to more minimalist design, he created a new design language by unveiling a series of products with modernist architecture and simple volumes including a portable transistor, tuner made of rosewood and cubic speakers which soon joined the collections of the MoMA in New York.
Resurrecting a legend
In the early 1970s, Jacob Jensen innovated again, developing the Beogram 4000 Series record player. “An invention born of a desire to create the perfect turntable, with a tangential rather than diagonal acoustic arm to reproduce the sound precisely as it was recorded, and equipped with a robust suspension capable of absorbing dance movements when a vinyl is played,” explains Mads Kosgaard Hansen, Bang & Olufsen’s Global Product Director. These technical constraints gave rise to an avant-garde design, “a kind of spaceship if you believe the testimonies of the time,” comments the audiovisual specialist, ” where the aluminum aesthetic made its mark on the world.” Halted at the end of the 80s, the production of the Beogram turntable finally resumed a few months ago within the new Classics program developed by the Danish firm, with a stated objective: “to celebrate the creations that cross time and make memories.”
The art of restoration
After several months of research, visits to second-hand markets, exchanges with the brand’s collectors, and a few hours on Ebay, the Bang & Olufsen design team got their hands on 95 old Bang & Olufsen models. “Gathered in our Struer factory, in the same workshops where the first models were manufactured, the original Beogram turntables were first dismantled by hand,” explains Mads Kosgaard Hansen, “then meticulously inspected by our engineers, before being refurbished and restored on a case-by-case basis. It’s a real work of art.” In a new champagne aluminum color, the luxury turntable now has a new handcrafted oak frame, a state-of-the-art dust cover, and a phono pre-amplifier. “There is a touch of modernity as well,” adds Mads, “and the desire to consider each of our products, as a potential object for future recreation.”
Bang & Olufsen is accustomed to renowned collaborations from Saint Laurent to Rimowa and more recently with designer Benjamin Hubert (Layer). The brand is now partnering with Orient Express, integrating a copy of its Beogram 4000c vinyl turntable with the new Beosound Level portable wi-fi speaker in its trunk from trunk-maker Au Départ. “A natural marriage,” according to Bang & Olufsen’s Global Product Director, “due to the heritage of our two companies, our constant attention to detail and the quality of our craftsmanship.” Made to order, each Orient Express trunk also includes a collection of beautiful books on the legendary train, a case of Trudon candles made by Au Départ and a set of glassware and decanters to listen to the best music over a festive toast.
More information on www.bang-olufsen.com