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Milan Design Week 2015: Sound Projects

Three installations that played to the eyes as much as they do to the ears

by Paolo Ferrarini
on 27 April 2015

Sound and music play pivotal roles in our daily lives, whether it's at home, in public places or in transit. Companies and independent designers at Milan Design Week are aware of this—and understand what it means to include (or exclude) their thoughts and ideas on aspects relating to sound. The following three selections represented the most interesting sound products, installations and innovations we viewed in Milan during Design Week.

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Master & Dynamic with Steffen Kehrle

Master & Dynamic’s headphones stand as an ideal example of thoughtful, clear sound execution. Sometimes, however, we want to share what we’re listening to with the people around us; headphones in this situation become a limitation. This common conundrum seems to have driven the concept behind a one-off installation at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition, for which German designer Steffen Kehrle turned a pair of Master & Dynamic headphones into loudspeakers—simply by affixing the personal item onto an iron megaphone. The basic instrument to publicly “say it loud” meets the most private way to listen to music, creating a fun contradiction of an artistic installation.

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Living PET by Lorenzo Palmeri for De Vorm

While many in the industry work on achieving the best sound, one creative at Milan Design Week focused on silence. Italian designer and musician Lorenzo Palmeri, along with De Vorm, created a series of giant animals—sculptures made of felt and derived from recycled PET. Each animal of the Living PET collection absorbs harsh sounds and softens the noise in a room—with the result being sustainable design for a sustainable living. “In environmental projects acoustics is perhaps the most neglected aspect," Palmeri tells CH. "Creating awareness around sound could greatly facilitate our lives or partially save us from the bombardment of noise and music in the background. It should also be mentioned that the silent pause is a fundamental part in music."

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Saturno Marble Music Station by Stonecycle

Newborn company Stonecycle retrieves unused or discarded pieces of Carrara marble (almost 60% of the extracted amounts in the Tuscan Alps go unused) for their products. Their design Saturno presents a high-quality sound system and complete music collection based upon the relationship between the five senses and the marble material. The resulting object is a perfect sphere, referred to as the "planet." The planet elegantly opens to reveal a sophisticated mechanism and ultimately, the music starts to play. All of this can be controlled by smartphone or tablet but there is also an auxiliary outlet, USB, ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth connections embedded. When closed, one can enjoy the unique transparency of the marble, since Saturno also happens to be a lamp.

Images courtesy of respective brands

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