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The Bang & Olufsen x GamFratesi Beosound A5: Powerful, Portable, and Pairable

05.10.23 | By
The Bang & Olufsen x GamFratesi Beosound A5: Powerful, Portable, and Pairable

The options available today when it comes to portable audio are seemingly endless, with many portable audio designs taking an abstract approach to the concept in order to stand out from the crowd. But Bang & Olufsen’s new pair of Beosound A5 speaker designs wear their function and features with refreshing clarity, requiring only a brief glance to communicate its portable purpose.

GamFraseti working together on constructing paper prototype model of the Beosound A5 speaker.

Beosound A5 in natural aluminum with a woven paper fibre front incorporates a light oak handle.

Danish architect Stine Gam seated at table reviewing natural weave materials in spools and wound up across large wooden table.

Natural weave materials in spools with wooden speaker handle set across large wooden table alongside sketches across two pieces of paper.

Designed in partnership with Danish architect Stine Gam and Italian architect Enrico Fratesi, the design duo known collectively as GamFratesi have given both versions of the Beosound A5 distinct personalities with small, yet noticeable differences. In natural aluminum with a woven paper fiber front and light oak handle, the feeling is of “laid-back Scandinavian summers spent at the beach.” And in this lighter iteration it is near impossible not to imagine the speaker as another object equated with portability and recreation, the picnic basket.

Beosound A5 in black anthracite aluminum with a dark oak wood panel cover.

Conversely, the Beosound A5 in black anthracite aluminum with a dark oak wood speaker cover and handle communicates a moodier architectural presence.

Cropped shot of both dark and light versions of the Beosound speaker with each of their speaker handles positioned upward.

The Beosound A5 is designed to be taken around the house or even outdoors, with a IP65 water and dust-proof rating and more than 12 hours of playtime.

iPhone shown on top of the Beosound A5 speaker wirelessly charging the phone.

The A5 isn’t just a wireless audio speaker, but a portable backup power source for compatible phones, with a wireless phone charger integrated into the top panel of the speaker.

GamFratesi cites nature and Scandinavia’s rich design history as muse, choosing materials, colors, and textures reflective of an analog crafted object rather than one housing a variety of modern technologies. This isn’t to say the design pair did not look at B&O’s archives, with their approach to the speaker’s design referencing the soft organic curves and natural materials of the Beolit 607 launched in 1961.

Beosound A5 shown alongside two earlier 1960's era Bang & Olufsen portable radio designs

Like many of the finest designs associated with Bang & Olufsen, the Beosound A5 draws inspiration from the work of the designer most associated with the brand, Jacob Jensen. The wooden teak finish of the Beolit 800 and Beolit 1000 originally designed by Jensen between the late 60’s and early 70’s lives on in spirit in this new speaker.

Our inspiration for Beosound A5 came from many places including the iconic Beolit series as well as natural materials synonymous with the colours and textures found in Scandinavian nature. From the traditional Panama straw hats worn on beaches, to the hand-woven leather accents of Danish chairs from the 1960s, blends of natural materials applied in experimental ways guided our design journey.

– GamFratesi

Beosound A5 shown alongside two earlier 1960's era Bang & Olufsen portable radio designs

The portable speaker’s compact size belies the technology within, housing a four-way driver powered by four individual digital amplifiers for an impressively robust combined 280 watts of power, while also equipped with beamforming technology originally innovated for the brand’s flagship Beolab range of loudspeakers.

Beosound A5 shown disassembled from overhead view, displaying twelve separate parts.

Engineered to be easily serviced, repaired, and upgraded, the A5 is designed as a modular design incorporating longevity as a feature rather than an add-on option. Noting tastes do change with time, there will be swappable front covers in new materials and colorways in the future to further extend the speaker’s lifespan.

3D render of the A5 speaker in an imaginary modern living room with gradient light outside.

If you’re someone who subscribes to more is more, one doesn’t need to settle for just one A5, as the Bang & Olufsen’s Mozart software platform invites pairing two Beosound A5s using a Proximity Pairing feature to enhance output into an immersive stereo experience (or with any other Mozart-enabled speaker in Bang & Olufsen’s portfolio).

3D render of the A5 speaker in an imaginary modern bedroom with sunken bed section and gradient sunset light with clouds visible outside.

Beosound A5 is compatible with Beolink Multiroom, Airplay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 5.2, and other wireless audio options.

3D render of the A5 speaker in an imaginary modern bedroom with gradient light outside and bedside lamp and clock nearby.

The Beosound A5 is available today for $1,049 in Nordic Weave or for a small premium at $1,149 in its Dark Oak edition, both selling in stores or online.

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Gregory Han is the Managing Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.