All Articles
All Articles

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 18

A stunning wood and aluminum wireless sound column inspired by David Lewis' iconic BeoLab 8000

by Graham Hiemstra
on 29 October 2013

A celebrated innovator in material design and a pioneer in the school of thought that designers should work side-by-side with engineers, over the last 88 years Bang & Olufsen has released some of the most iconic designs in the home audio-visual category. To build on this legacy, tomorrow 30 October, the Danish company will introduce three completely new wireless products for home entertainment—the BeoLab 17 loudspeaker, the BeoLab 18 sound column and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer. While the 17 and 19 stand as the world's first high-end wireless compact loudspeaker and subwoofer respectively, the BeoLab 18 steals the show with an immediately iconic look designed by Torsten Valeur.

BangOlufsen-Torsten-Valeur.jpg BangOlufsen-BeoLab-19.jpg

With a unique façade made from warm wood and a tall, slender backbone of brushed aluminum, the BeoLab 18 takes direct design cues from the highly regarded BeoLab 8000. Released in 1992 and designed by Englishman David Lewis—who passed away just two years ago—the 8000 has become Bang & Olufsen's best-selling product. And so, it makes sense that Valeur—a Danish designer who worked under and alongside Lewis for 20 years at David Lewis Designers studio—would be brought in to reinterpret the beloved sound column.

BangOlufsen-BeoLab-18-comparison.jpg BangOlufsen-detail-BeoLab-18.jpg

Three design elements in particular stand out on the new 18 sound column. The visually sharp, sculptural base is slightly sexier than the 8000's pencil-shaped base, which helped earn it the nickname of "organ pipe." Atop of the 18 sits an acoustic lens—previously used almost exclusively in Bang & Olufsen car audio systems—which disperses sound in an 180 degree arc, making the "sweet spot" nearly anywhere in the room. And, of course, the most notable element is the hardwood integration. Reminiscent of the strings on an upright bass, the fanning slats elegantly hide the speaker's custom parallel 4" midrange/woofer drivers while pushing the sound in an even range of directions at the same time.

Considering Bang & Olufsen's early use of wood and aluminum together, and Denmark's storied history in modernist wooden design, the 18 is almost expected. "It is so much like a sculpture, or piece of furniture, but not in a way that the wood becomes just a pure decoration. It's not that kind of purpose—this is a really functional element," Valeur explains of the wood façade. "At the same time I feel at ease when I am in a home with a lot of natural wood—in the furniture and floors for example. So I wanted to have this very high tech, precise speaker, be married to this kind of soft element that brings in the coziness and a feeling of home."


It almost goes without saying that each of the three new wireless releases sound incredible. The first products to hit the market run on the new WiSA standard, multiple antennas in each speaker tether to your WiSA-compliant entertainment center for unparalleled acoustic performance. In short, sound is transmitted quickly and efficiently, eliminating all threat of un-synced lips—a characteristic of wireless syncing.

Released at the end of November 2013, the BeoLab 17 (also designed by Valeur) set will sell for $3,990; the BeoLab 18 set with floor base for $6,590 and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer for $3,395. Visit Bang & Olufsen for more technical specs and details.

Lead image courtesy of Bang & Olufsen, all other photos by Graham Hiemstra

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world
Loading More...