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Design Milk Tech 10: New B&O Speaker Emerges, Microbial Fashion, 3D Printed Earbuds + More

Every month we share some of the most interesting and promising announcements from the realm of tech, including personal entertainment devices, the intersection of art and tech, home appliances trends, health tech and smart home solutions.

07.29.21 | By
Design Milk Tech 10: New B&O Speaker Emerges, Microbial Fashion, 3D Printed Earbuds + More
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1. Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge
As a longtime Bang & Olufsen fan and owner of some of their vintage mid-century designs, I wasn’t surprised to find myself drawn to this uniquely designed wifi speaker, partially because it reminds me of one of my favorite buildings in New York City, the 22-story, 285-foot-tall Flatiron building. The Black Anthracite edition looks industrial, but in the Gold Tone with Light Oak finish the impression is warmer and more furniture-like; both are slim and can bring music to any corner without taking much space.

2. Eve by Tubes
It’s strange there aren’t more designs combining the features of warmth and lighting into a singular form, something which this combo design of “nomadic heating and luminous sphere”. Designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the sculptural heating element was awarded a Red Dot Design Award alongside an IF Design Award 2021, the first heater I’ve ever seen which I would want to bring attention toward.

3. Volvo Concept Recharge
Till now I’ve considered Volvo’s high-performance all-electric brand Polestar as the brand’s guiding light in their journey toward a purely electric stable of vehicles, but I’m pretty excited about Volvo’s own emblem and those unmistakable Thor’s hammer headlights fronting something similarly  futuristic and minimalist, and the Concept Recharge more than hints their Scandinavian brand of “less but better” will be worth it.

4. Airthings View Plus
When it comes to technology for the home, the best designs in my book are the ones that seem least intrusive. And even if measuring interior air quality is a very important task (especially here in fire and pollution prone California), I don’t want a device that looks the part of something industrial rather than domestic. Airthings did a great job of balancing a non-intrusive neutral form factor with a “calm tech display” that shows amounts of radon, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, VOCs, humidity, air pressure and the temperature – all available with a wave of the hand in front of the display face.

5. Modern Synthesis
There’s been great strides made to turn all sorts of recycled plastic material into footwear, but I’m very curious about the possibility of employing the aid of tiny factories of microbes to grow biomaterials grown from agricultural waste feedstocks and turning them into 100% biodegradable kicks.

6. Mapu Preto Speakers
Typically the practice of traditional craft and modern consumer technology exist in the furthest reaches of their particular domains, making these handcrafted clay speakers a notable exception. The Mapu Preto speakers aren’t merely manufactured, but fabricated like pottery, then assembled into a pair of speakers named after the traditional black ceramics made through oxygen reduction during the firing process. They’re not just intended as beautiful objects, but harbor genuinely thoughtful audio engineering, a sound aided by Bang & Olufsen and the SoundHub network resulting in a novel amplifier with external DAC and Aptx codec, a BT 5.0 module and an improved DSP powering a bass-reflex tube in combination with high-quality 4″ full-range drivers.

7. Flo Desktop Fan
I’ve been on the hunt for a decent looking USB-powered desk fan to keep me cool throughout the summer without having to resort to turning on the air conditioner. I eventually found an affordable small model, but what I really want is something like this bladeless concept from Korea.

8. Campfire Audio Holocene
While I’ve continued to use wired over-the-ear headphones, I ditched wired earbuds years ago during my days as an avid runner. So it definitely felt funny to plug in a pair of these 3D printed earbuds for a listen initially. Then I realized how much more depth and nuance these in-ear monitors revealed compared to a normal consumer brand earbud, especially when paired with a higher audio quality source. The Holocene’s machined aluminum anodized design has a Stark Industries vibe to them, which is countered by the wildly colorful geometric patterned and glow-in-the-dark case it’s paired with, but the really appeal is the soundscapes these IEM reveal once positioned firmly into the ear canal.

9. Vekoti Air Purifier
As mentioned above, indoor air quality is a regular concern in our household (thanks, drafty 1920s-era windows). We have air purifiers strewn throughout our home, and while each unit isn’t an eyesore, neither would most rate as an aesthetic net positive. This concept reimagines the air purifier unit existing within a Venn diagram between purifier, plant and interior…or “planterior prop” as the designers refer to their decorative air purifying unit.

10. Herman Miller OE1 Micro Packs
In the past year numerous friends have asked me for standing desk options with the caveat, “can you recommend one compact option that doesn’t require too much space?” Designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility have designed a standing desk for Herman Miller which I think hits that mark while also being surprisingly uplifting aesthetically as much as functionally. Bravo!

Gregory Han is Tech 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.