Bang & Olufsen Design Philosophy

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B&O design philosophy

Simple design with a touch of magic!

"Design has become our new niche. The gear should look smart, but technical performance should be outstanding. Designers and technicians work together in close collaboration from the very start of a new product": Bang & Olufsen video products

It all started when Peter Bang & Svend Olufsen sold their first Eliminator in 1925. Their idea of using the mains to provide a more convenient power source for a radio was revolutionary. Since then, whenever the company has introduced a new product it has caused a similar stir. The philosophy that inspires them is however, the same: creating audio concepts that combine brilliantly authentic sound quality, simple yet surprising design and a touch of magic. So that living with it becomes a special pleasure. (Read More)

Danish design

The concept of Danish Design was based on the post-war era's more international taste, in which the social and the "modern" might well be retained, but where tradition still played a part. Simple, well-formed and material-conscious applied art was to oppose the import of mass-produced goods; and with a high ethical standard of craftsmanship it gained international recognition. Ceramics entered a period of strength with a number of individual workshops concentrating on the material, the glazing and a subdued, secondary decoration to simple everyday objects, which nevertheless were not primarily intended to be used. In 1949 Sigvard Bernadotte and Acton Bjørn established the first drawing office for industrial design; one of those working there was Jacob Jensen, whose minimalist radio designs for Bang & Olufsen combined Danish and international idiom.

The use of specialist craftsmen and architects in the applied arts was fruitful and made certain furniture very popular, e.g. Arne Jacobsen's tubular steel chairs, which have been produced ever since the 1950s. Finally, the Bauhaus style, via the USA, reached Denmark with Poul Kjærholm's minimalist furniture. Finn Juhl's expressive, organic furniture was a reaction against this style and the aesthetics of the Kaare Klint school, while Hans J. Wegner took a more relaxed attitude to the concept of style. As a trained cabinet maker he worked his way forward to solutions which partly stemmed from tradition and partly were freely invented. The porcelain factories distinguished themselves after 1945 with new, simple dinner and coffee services alongside the traditional ones. In an attempt to strengthen the production and marketing of applied art products, the Royal Copenhagen Group, was formed in 1985 on the basis of a merger of the major Danish manufacturers of applied arts.

Bang & Olufsen Design

To Bang & Olufsen, design is a language - a medium through which is communicated the company’s values and vision about technology and concepts. Design is nothing in itself unless it is used to unite form and function in an auto visual entity. Therefore Bang & Olufsen products are not only aesthetically pleasing but are also functional and easy to use. This has always been the case with the company, ever since its founding it has produced ranges of products that were striking to look at, easy to use and which were manufactured to the highest standards. In 1971 the seven Corporate Identity Components (CIC) originated from the company's re-examination of itself and attempted to address questions relating to the company's identity and self-perception.

Bang & Olufsen products are known for:

Outstanding Performance

Durability

Classic Design

Which all add up to Long-term Reliability!

Questions such as: "who are we?" and "what values do we embody?" were answered by these seven specified core components. They set out the company's mission statement and include aims and objectives which have remained Bang & Olufsen's philosophy for the past thirty years.

Design alone, of course, did not create B&O’s international reputation. Design in itself was never a goal, only a means. "Design is a language," so it was once said. It was in the first half of the 1970s that B&O developed a deep understanding of the concept of design. It was clear to the company's management team that design without a basic idea - a concept - would become both superficial and transient. In parallel with the design, B&O, therefore, developed a new marketing and communication strategy - a "lifestyle" oriented strategy aimed at a smaller, but more international target group. Perhaps this strategy was best encapsulated in the advertising slogan of the period: "B&O is for those who consider taste and quality before price." (See BeoCollectors)

Sound

With focus on advanced and compact active loudspeaker designs Bang & Olufsen has become one of the largest loudspeaker manufacturers in the world. Its goal is, and always has been, to create products that can reproduce original sound material as authentically as possible. Being faithful to the 'Natural Sound' is the reference that guides the company in everything it does. In carrying out its work, it has created an acknowledged research and development department, whose skills will be used in the developing automotive industry sector.

Within the company are research, development and test facilities unequalled among other manufacturers. For the automotive industry especially the thorough knowledge of how to produce good bass performance in a small cabinets is of key importance.

A Bang & Olufsen system uses enclosed cabinets for all driver units, giving full control over the acoustic parameters and ensuring that the vehicle does not disturb the surroundings, even if the car audio system is playing very loud. Furthermore, the company possesses an interesting number of developing technologies which will set new standards for the spatial sound properties of its products.

Aluminium

The deliberate choice of material, and the final surface treatment of the product’s finish, are true characteristics of Bang & Olufsen and have become core competences.

The machining, polishing and anodising of aluminium have been a strategic competence within the company for many years; it has invested heavily in research and facilities for the optimum use of this material for decorative purposes. It constructed its own anodising plant in Struer in 1992, and it remains among the most advanced in the world, not least when it comes to protecting the environment.

Beyond the parts directly used within Bang & Olufsen audio products, it can supply other trim parts as needed, enabling a coherent appearance to a very high standard of fit and finish.

Created: 24th October 2006
Modified: 1st February 2007

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