The World’s Most Beautiful Speaker

Entertainment By Elena Boaghi |

It looks like a wood-grained tornado, or perhaps a megaphone made of ribbon. And yet, somehow, it doesn’t just hold itself together; it makes music in the process.

[Photo: Akihiro Yoshida/Nendo]

This $1,120 Bluetooth speaker, without any apparent name, is the latest product from the Japanese design firm Nendo, in collaboration with the sustainable wood sculptors at Bunaco. Bunaco is known for creating lamps, vases, and tableware from very thin strips of beechwood, each layer spun carefully on top of the next to form watertight seals. With Nendo, Bunaco essentially transformed its vase design into the diaphragm of a speaker. And by placing that beechwood diaphragm inside an acrylic cylinder, it looks like it’s a sculpture floating in midair.

[Photo: Akihiro Yoshida/Nendo]

And as for why the diaphragm itself uncoils toward the ground, Nendo insists that it’s not merely an aesthetic choice. It’s a visual shorthand to explain how the speaker was made, “enabling users to intuitively understand the speaker’s structure as well as the craftsmanship invested in its production.” In that regard, they aren’t wrong. Once glance at the speaker, and you can almost see the careful hands that must have built it.

The shape was also optimized for acoustic purposes. Wood creates a warm resonance in speakers, much like it does in clarinets and violins. “As a result of the shape of the internal cavities, fine steps, and the sound absorbing qualities of the beechwood, it has been proven to produce a uniquely clear and soft tone,” Nendo writes. Though frankly, with a piece of art so beautiful, it’s almost just a bonus that you can plug it in and use it, too.MW

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