Braun, in continuing to celebrate its 100 years in 2021, has entered a unique collaboration with the CCO and Founder of Off-White and Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Menswear, Virgil Abloh.
Today, the design leaders unveil their “functional art” piece with a film on Braun’s website, while a remix track by Virgil Abloh is also available on Abloh’s Soundcloud to bring the Braun ethos of good design to life.
The collaboration with Virgil Abloh sees the designer delve into the Braun archives to update and co curate the 1965 hi-fi audio wall unit with Braun’s design team into a “functional art” piece.
The metallic finish of the 2021 version is a visual manifestation of the parallels between Braun’s polished chrome design aesthetic such as the 1960 SM3 shaver and 1961 T1 toaster and the high shine of Virgil Abloh’s cultural and musical references of the past 100 years.
These range from the brass and silver instruments of Mamie Smith’s 1930s blues band to the customized polished on cars made famous by hip hop stars in the 1980s.
By taking a ‘less but better’ approach to the design process, Virgil Abloh and Braun ensure that the original hi fi audio remains the hero of the collaboration and the technology still functions today as it did back in 1965.
The result is a custom build “functional art” piece where design bridges the gap between form and function, with materials that ensure it lasts for the next 100 years.
Virgil Abloh said: “I have always had a deep appreciation for Braun design. For the brand’s 100 years, II jumped at the opportunity to reimagine this iconic Braun product and challenge what we have come to expect from design. The “functional art” piece coco–curated with Braun Design not only highlights the original function of the hi fi wall unit that was the best audio of its time, but also the quality and durable materials that are built to last. As a creator, II continue to question how art is perceived in today’s culture.”
Adding: “Functional art” is a lasting legacy of the enduring power of good design that is simple, useful and built to last. In so doing, it advances the frames of design references beyond design ‘purists’ to broader audiences.”
The short film follows Abloh at Farnsworth House – designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – as he explains his design process behind the reimagined Wandanlage.
In a nod to his practice as a DJ, Virgil Abloh has also curated a bespoke remix composition titled ‘Internationalism’ so design ‘purists’ and broader audiences can experience the musical inspiration behind the collaboration.
He concluded: “The track was conceived in collaboration with The Chopstars, the epochal Houston sound designers; the net result being chopped and screwed jazz classics. The track itself is an audio expression of the thesis in which parallels can be drawn in reference to The Chopstar process, as it relates to the development of our collaboration’s “Functional Art.”
“The hallmark of the work is rooting the industrial design and existence of the Canon to embody Black culture in a specific way that Houston brand of music specifically achieves – the Chopped not Slopped sonic texture picks up where design leaves off.”