The visual appeal of an object is an important criterion when choosing a speaker, a pair of headphones or a radio. Today’s equipment is designed to offer high quality sound while adapting to the decoration and taste of every user. In the world of audio and video, there is one country that stands out for its refined and elegant style: Denmark. Bang & Olufsen, Dali, Eltax, Jamo, Tangent, Lyngdorf, Scandyna, Davone… These different brands often collaborate with great designers to deliver musical and aesthetic devices. Here is a look at these Danish companies that have created iconic audio-video objects.
Scandinavian style is often defined as the combination of beauty and functionality. These northern countries use raw materials such as wood, glass, aluminum, fabric and leather. The combination of these different materials offers a warm aspect while maintaining a minimalist and pure finish.
Bjarke Ingels, a renowned Danish architect, defines Scandinavian design and culture as “a certain form of social empathy, with a special appreciation of nature characterized by respect for the environment and a certain affinity towards natural materials.” Furthermore, Danish design is often considered a “timeless trend.”
Bang & Olufsen
Since its beginnings in 1925, Bang & Olufsen has offered hi-fi and TV products that combine quality sound, craftsmanship and design. The avant-garde Danish brand has always been inspired by everyday life to create unique pieces such as the Hyperbo 5 RG Steel radio, influenced by the B32 chairs of designer Marcel Breuer. Aluminum surfaces, atypical shapes, elegant curves… Bang & Olufsen products are much more than simple audio objects, they are true works of art.
As Jacob Dyreby, acoustic engineer at B&O, explains, “The magic happens when design and acoustics are in unison with mechanical engineering, hardware and software.”
B&O: collaborations with great designers
We had the opportunity to interview Creative Director Kresten Bjørn Krab-Bjerre during the unboxing of the B&O Beosound Theater soundbar. He explained that “Bang & Olufsen’s soul and collaborative spirit make it stand out”. These collaborators include Cecilie Manz (Danish), David Lewis (British) and Jacob Jensen (Danish), three great designers contacted by the Danish brand to create various audio and video equipment. Among the brand’s most iconic items are the Beogram 4000 turntable designed by Jacob Jensen, the Bang&Olufsen Beoplay A1 portable Bluetooth speaker designed by Cecilie Manz and the Beosound 3200 CD player/radio (Beosound Ouverture) designed by David Lewis.
Benjamin Hubert, designer of the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance, was interviewed by the brand. He explained his method to design a unique and efficient object. After having read the brief, he asks himself a multitude of questions: who uses the product? How do they use it? Why do they use it? Where do they use it? … These details allow Benjamin Hubert to direct his creative process. He describes the Beosound Balance as a piece of equipment that is intended to be an extension of the person using it, but also of the place where the speaker is used. In addition to visual appeal, B. Hubert emphasizes the importance of design regarding user experience.
Bang & Olufsen has also worked with other renowned designers such as Matthew Williams, Henrik Sørig Thomsen, Torsten Valeur, Jo Nagasaka, Michael Anastassiades and Øivind Alexander Slaato.
B&O: partnerships with luxury brands
In addition to these designers, Bang & Olufsen collaborates with some of the most renowned designers in the fashion world. For example, there is a partnership with Berluti, a famous French designer of men’s leather goods. This partnership has resulted in six exclusive pieces with hand-patinated Venezia leather. Bang & Olufsen has also partnered with Saint Laurent to create very limited editions. Finally, the Bang & Olufsen x Balenciaga Speaker Bag is the latest piece from the Danish brand that blends haute couture and high fidelity.
The Bang&Olufsen brand is also inspired by other domains, such as music and sports, to create original pieces. Ludwig Göransson, a Swedish composer and record producer in Los Angeles, was invited to participate in the development of the B&O x RIMOWA (a high-end luggage brand) product collection. B&O also called on Lay Zhang, singer, composer, producer, director, dancer and actor. The latter is the first ambassador of the brand.
Concerning sports, Bang & Olufsen was inspired by the high-performance sports brand On and Williams Racing, one of the most iconic Formula 1 teams. The brand also creates B&O Car Audio systems for Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Ford, Lamborghini and Genesis. The visible protective grilles are also very elegant for a sophisticated result, even within the car’s interior.
Dali Speakers is a hi-fi brand founded in 1983 by Peter Lyngdorf. Acronym of Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries, the company specializes in the creation of all forms of loudspeakers: bookshelf, floorstanding, center, in-wall/ceiling… Dali quickly differentiated itself from its competitors by focusing on the design of its speakers. A meticulous choice of materials and high quality manufacturing combined with great expertise allow the brand to create unique objects.
The first models with an innovative design were the Dali DaCapo. Featuring a large 1.5 x 100cm ribbon tweeter, these floorstanding speakers have an ultra-slim and elegant look. In the same spirit, the Dali Skyline speakers benefit from a very slim triangular design. This different aesthetic is designed to appeal to both passionate audiophiles and those who appreciate refined design.
In 2011, the trend was reversed with slightly larger formats, like the Dali Fazon F5 floorstanding speaker which was a real hit with lovers of contemporary decor. Its rounded curves combined with a lacquered finish blend perfectly with modern decorative elements. More recently, the Dali Epicon range has been given an ogive like cabinet, giving them an unprecedented elegance.
The Dali Rubicon, Dali Spektor, Dali Oberon and Dali Oberon C ranges offer a more classic design. Usually offered with a wood, white or black finish, the speakers have a minimalist and refined aesthetic that fits into any interior.
Inspired by the look of the Dali Katch G2 portable Bluetooth speaker that we reviewed (see the Dali Katch G2 review), Dali released the Dali Katch One soundbar. The latter received multiple awards from the specialized press, in particular thanks to its pure and elegant design. Its rounded edges and honeycomb front give it a real charm that embellishes the TV setup in the best possible way – in addition to enhancing the sound quality. The soundbar has removable wooden feet so it can be installed on your TV cabinet. It can also be attached to the wall with the two elegant leather tabs. Proof of the importance given by Dali to high quality materials and build quality.
More and more design professionals are looking for speakers that can be integrated into the walls and ceiling of a room. The Danish manufacturer stands out with its range of architectural speakers. In addition to sound quality, the brand’s goal is to convince interior designers of the value of audio products. Dali offers high quality speakers that are easy to install and respect the design of the room. Mission accomplished!
The Danish brand also provides carefully designed headphones. Designed to be worn all day long, at home or outdoors, the Dali IO-6 and Dali IO-4 headphones have a simple, refined design. These minimalist lines and high quality materials also improve comfort. Memory foam, high-end synthetic materials, aluminum, leatherette… Dali strives to create beautiful headphones combining comfort and performance for everyday use.
The founder of Dali is also behind the Lyngdorf brand and is co-founder of the Nordic Hi-Fi Klubben stores. The understated elegance of Danish design can be found in the brand’s refinedpreamplifiers, hi-fi amplifiers and CD players.
The carpenter Preben Jacobsen is the founder of the Jamo brand. Although he began creating his speakers in his chicken coop, today the Danish manufacturer is world-renowned for its award-winning equipment. Jamo speakers are based on the Danish design tradition of simplicity and functionality. The marriage of design and technology is perfectly mastered by the brand, with the Jamo S15B speaker, for example, which combines a minimalist look with exceptional acoustic performance.
Just as the brand uses the best acoustic engineers, Jamo collaborates with talented designers to create speakers that are as effective as they are beautiful. For example, the Jamo C9 Concert Series II was designed by Kieron Dunk of Industrial Design Associates. The usual parallelepipedic front panel has been replaced with softer lines inspired by nature. These rounded corners also serve to improve acoustics by reducing standing waves inside the cabinet, therefore limiting the risk of distortion.
Moreover, this range includes the Jamo Concert C109 speaker (read the Jamo Concert C109 test) which posed a real aesthetic challenge. The specifications in the brief included a very wide frequency response with multiple drivers. Despite its XXL size, the speaker has a great elegance thanks to its curves and high-quality lacquered finish. This makes Jamo one of the most renowned Danish brands when it comes to minimalist, clean designs.
Founded 300km away from Copenhagen, Danish hi-fi company Eltax has made a name for itself in the audiophile world by producing loudspeakers and electronics renowned for their performance and musicality. The speakers in the Monitor range are mostly Scandinavian in style, combining elegance and functionality. Clean lines, fabric grille, elegant decoupling spikes… Like minimalism, the Scandinavian style of Eltax speakers follows the mantra: “less is more”.
In addition to the classic black and white, the speakers are available in multiple wood finishes. Walnut, Calvados, light wood, beech… Like the different brands mentioned, Eltax uses natural materials that add to the charm of the speaker. You can also enjoy great audio performance for listening to your playlists and immersive movie action with Eltax’s speaker packs.
The Eltax brand also offers trendy speakers with a vintage look. Notably the impressive 1959 Eltax Monitor PWR speakers. This speaker adopts a parallelepiped shape characteristic of retro designs and it is possible to leave the drivers visible (removable grilles). A silhouette that is similar to that of theElipson Heritage XLS 15. The Monitor PWR 1959s are the perfect decorative element in a room with an industrial style, for example. Considering its imposing size, the speaker features with a double front-firing port. A design that makes it easy to install in the room.
Although the company originally started in the UK, it was acquired by the Eltax brand a few years later. The company was then relocated to Denmark. Tangent puts aesthetics at the service of hi-fi and home theater. Its catalog includes radios and speakers, but also mini stereo amplifiers and CD players.
Vintage, modern, classic, Scandinavian… Tangent stands out with a great diversity of equipment with sometimes very different styles. The brand’s first radio, the Tangent Uno Radio, has a charming retro design with rounded edges and bright colors. The Tangent FP-600 home theater package also follows the trend of soft lines with, this time, a wood and white finish to highlight the elegance of the system. The iconic Tangent Prestige floorstanding speakers are distinguished by their slender, flared shape.
More contemporary, the Tangent Spectrum speakers skillfully combine modern design and minimalism with optimal acoustic qualities. Awarded many times by the specialized press, this series of loudspeakers benefits from very sophisticated finishes. As we mentioned in our Tangent Spectrum W1 review, these speakers are instantly appealing and are designed to fit easily into the home.
Tangent also uses design to optimize the performance of its speakers. For example, the Tangent Classic wireless speaker has a surprising oval shape. This unique design also eliminates the reflection of the sound waves inside the speaker, offering exceptional musicality.
For the design of its flagship products, Tangent has repeatedly called upon renowned designers. The most striking collaboration is with Jacob Jensen for the Fjord range, which includes the Tangent Fjord, Tangent Fjord Dock and Tangent Fjord Mini speakers.
For over 50 years, the Jacob Jensen design studio has been known for its ultra-modern and minimalist creations. Specializing in audio system design since the 1960s, many of Jacob Jensen’s timeless works have become international classics. Some of them are present in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). It is therefore natural that Tangent turned to this expert for the creation of speakers with a Scandinavian design and sound. This collaborative work with Jacob Jensen’s unmistakable style was a real hit with the public.
Podspeakers by Scandyna
Want a speaker with a truly unique design? Danish brand Scandyna presents a multitude of speakers that do away with traditional shapes. Combining performance, iconic designs and durability, Scandyna products and accessories are acclaimed worldwide.
A direct descendant of the Scandyna Minipod, the Scandyna The Drop speakers were designed by Simon Ghahary, the designer of the famous B&W Nautilus speakers. They have a nice teardrop shape, which also serves the sound. A true work of art capable of bringing sound to your room, the speaker can even be installed high up with the Drop ceiling mount to further enhance it. All the brand’s speakers are distinguished by their unique and original look. Rounded curves are favored, resulting in unique pieces.
Danish design: craftsmanship and innovation
Handcrafted, high quality materials, elegant and timeless design… The Danes are masters in the art of creating equipment that is as efficient as it is beautiful. We could also have mentioned many other Danish brands that are constantly innovating, such as Davone or gaming specialists SteelSeries and Epos. French professionals such as Elipson, Focal, Devialet and Waterfall Audio also offer magnificent audio-video systems, which you can find on Son-Vidéo.com.
Want to choose your hi-fi or home theater system according to its color? Pink, green, yellow, orange, red, blue… Discover our color selections to perfect your interior design!