Concrete is ubiquitous in our built environments. From urban architecture to interior design, it is a strong feature of a minimalist aesthetic and a symbol of modernity. The materiality of concrete has become an inspiration for designer Gražina Bočkutė in her search for high quality sound and speaker design. Due to her unorthodox choice of materials, current sound speaker prototypes are a unique homage to 20th century brutalism.
The designer began making the first attempts at concrete speakers back in 2016. She found inspiration for this unique CONCRETUS project in her familiar environment: the soundscapes of concrete, metal and sea waves created by the tetrapod harbour structures characteristic of her seaside hometown Klaipėda.
Currently, plastic and wood are dominant in sound system development, while research into alternative materials remains limited. Taking the opportunity for innovation, Gražina Bočkutė shared her ideas with sounds engineers that recognised the potential for new experimental research. After much dedicated work, newly developed prototypes will soon be presented to the public.
THE CHOICE OF MATERIALS
Contrary to musical instruments, the loudspeaker enclosure is not meant to resonate to achieve a linear frequency response. These vibrations can interfere with the frequencies the diaphragm emits, resulting in a distortion of the original musical content. The weight and density of concrete material introduces the stability desirable in a speaker enclosure.
UNIQUE DESIGN PROCESS
Constructions are entirely handmade; therefore, the creative process is inevitably physically demanding. The experiments included mixing concrete with metal dust, pouring concrete into various plastic molds, polishing concrete, matching concrete with various metals to achieve brutalistic and minimal expression.
„Experimentations allowed me to discover the creative plasticity of concrete; it can take on many colours and textures in different proportions and mixtures of raw materials. Form is intentionally minimalistic which seeks to highlight pure materiality above all else. Over the last few months, together with engineer Matas Jurginis we conducted multiple material experiments and explored various shapes in search of optimal sound for concrete. I believe that our creative exploration of alternative materials can offer an important contribution to sound system innovations.“ – says designer Gražina Bočkutė.
AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN AESTHETIC
In choosing to purchase new loudspeakers, many of us look for superior sound quality as well as attractive form, harmonious with our home interior. However, this isn‘t often the case with most plastic speaker enclosures. CONCRETUS concrete loudspeakers are designed for lovers of music and industrial design. They are pieces of architectural sculpture that boast high-quality sound. Minimalist detail and neutral colors, undone surfaces and rough textures — distinct features of industrial aesthetics are seamlessly captured in CONCRETUS unique loudspeaker design.
The designer is not revealing the final form of the finished product just yet: „Experiments are on-going to explore the range of possibilities in form. We hope to attract and satisfy fans of modern design technologies as well as audiophiles, sound engineers and Lithuanian design enthusiasts.“ – says Gražina.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Gražina Bočkutė is an industrial designer with an interest in consumer electronics and special design. In her recent years she has been designing and developing new products for individual clients and companies. During these few years she has also organized events, curated and designed various design exhibitions. distinguished in the organization of events, curation of exhibitions, creation of exposition design.
Video & photography by Trix Production
The project is funded by: Lithuanian Council for Culture
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