Braun

Braun Audio Returns with the LE1 Reimagined by Precipice Design

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge fan of the industrial design work that Deiter rams did for Braun. His influence and the work he did for Braun can still be felt today on so many product lines by other companies like Apple. 

Braun has been absent from the audio world for more than two decades, but original stereo systems from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are still in demand. Not because they offer a superior audio experience, but because of the design and visual aesthetic they present.

The hottest Braun stereo collectible is probably the SK5 “Snow White’s Coffin” record player and radio. It is sublimely minimal in its execution with white powder-coated steel sandwiched between wooden side panels under a plexiglass case. The design was a radical departure for stereo gear when this was introduced in the 1950s. 

Snow White’s Coffin

One of my personal favorites from the Braun stereo family has always been the Braun Audio 1 from 1962. To me, it feels timeless. You can feel where it came from (the SK5) and understand the visual direction Rams was taking Braun over the next decade. 

1965 Braun Audio 1

In addition to the Audio 1, Braun introduced a set of minimalist speakers in 1959, the LE1. The LE1 is so simple in its design form. White rectangular slabs suspended on chrome tubular legs with a perforated black metal grill. The form is almost sculptural in quality and an even more radical departure from stereo systems of the day. You have to remember, in 1959 most stereo systems looked like a large wooden piece of furniture that would blend in with what was in your living room. The LE1 stands out. It’s meant to be seen as well as heard. 

The LE1 from 1959

The LE1 was the first electrostatic speaker available on the German market, the LE 1 provided a new housing for internal electronics produced by English engineering company Quad, then trading as Acoustical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The LE 1’s electronics were based on the Quad ESL-57, producing a distinctively detailed sound that still stands up well against the standards of contemporary hi-fi systems today. At the time of its introduction, the speaker was technically and aesthetically ground-breaking. Within the Braun audio program of the late ‘50s, the LE 1 was intended to accompany the first Braun component Hi-Fi system, the Braun Studio 2. 

The 2019 LE01 Series

For the first time in 28 years, Braun is back in the audio business. Well sort of. Braun Audio is returning with a reinvention of the aforementioned LE speakers from 1959. A perfect reintroduction to the heritage of Braun Audio, the new LE Series focuses on the purity of design, purity of performance and the purity of sound Braun was known for in the past.

These beautifully minimalist speakers have been re-imagined by Precipice Design. The London-based design company developed all consumer and trade touchpoints including brand and product narratives, packaging, photography, iconography, digital assets (website, and mobile app), video content, and point of sale concepts, print catalogs, and advertising, helping to re-establish Braun in the premium audio sector.

When you look at the complete set of design materials that Precipice created for Braun you are immediately aware of the heritage of vintage Braun while positioning them squarely in the modern market place. The imagery that is used across all touchpoints echoes the minimalist aesthetic that Braun became known for, not simply in the products they produced but in the owner’s manuals, advertising, and packaging that was produced during their heyday.

As I looked at the new website that Precipice produced I was struck by how it so closely mirrored many of the Braun printed items I’ve seen from the 1960s an70s. The minimal color pallet, sparse layout, concise messaging. The same look and feel are carried over to the mobile app, and on to the packaging. With the packaging focusing on the purity of sound while focusing on the brand’s heritage. Only key information about the product shown on the packaging. The uncomplicated packaging is typical of Braun and reflects the aesthetics of the classic speaker through dark tones and a graphic of the speaker itself.

The speakers themselves are an homage to the original LE1 updated to reflect today’s taste and improved technologies. Where the original 1959 speaker would probably prove to be too large in today’s home environment, Precipice’s vision shows how the LE1 can be reimagined to fit more discreetly into one’s home.

The new speaker brings the same vision Ram’s had in 1959. A minimalist slab in white with a black grill floating above a chrome stand. The speaker is angled slightly backward, and the controls are almost invisible. Precipice also introduces a solid black version of the speaker and two additional sizes, all of which use the same visual language. 

Floor stands have been designed as well, but I have to say I don’t think they work as well. They seem rather chunky except where they have been extended and used with the smallest of the speakers.

There is no word on availability yet. I’m betting these will be available this fall for the Christmas shopping season. The product was introduced around the first of September this year so you would think they would be ready for sale by mid-November at the latest. Pricing will range from $1200.00 for the largest of the 3 down to $380.00 for the smallest.

I don’t need these, but I wouldn’t mind having them. Full information and specs are available on the Braun Audio website.

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Systems, Das Programm, Walter Knoll, and Braun.

I love Braun electronics from the 1960’s and I love mid-century international style design, so “Systems” is right up my alley. The exhibition is curated by das programm and produced in association with Braun is on display at the Walter Knoll London showroom from November 25 Through December 31 of this year.

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The exhibit features the work of an international group of designers that were asked to work within the Braun design principals, and systemic design guidelines.The design team featured Experimental Jetset, Hey Studio, Ross Gunter, Antonio Carusone, Spin, Tomasz Berezowski, Spin and a host of others.

Now I just need to figure out a way, and find time to get to London before the end of the year.

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Found… “Braun SK 2 / PC3 – SV”

For some time now I have been lusting after Braun stereo components designed by the legendary Dieter Rams. While there are quite a few available on eBay, and through private collectors, it’s pretty rare to find one that has never been used, is still in the original box, and has all the paper work with it. Over the weekend I found a Braun PC 3-SV turntable in that very condition. Yesterday I pulled the trigger and purchased it from VintageEuroDesign on Etsy.

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I made this purchase not because this 1959 turntable is going to produce amazing audio, but because of the condition, and the fact that this is an iconic piece designed by Rams.

Braun SK 2 / PC3 – SV introduced the principle of modular components that dominated the early period of Braun audio design lead by Deiter Rams, Between 1955 – 1970. This fifteen year period can be broken into three distinct phases, with the PC 3-SV phonograph falling in the second. For a really good lesson on the history of the thinking behind the Braun systems, check out Das Programm.

WTHR, Inspired by Dieter Rams and Braun.

WTHR, you can get it here.

If you are an iPhone user that is crazy about clean design, beautiful simple user interfaces, and clean graphics this app is for you. If you are into design, love Dieter Rams designed pieces for Braun, this app is for you. If you are looking for a simpler wether application for your iPhone, this app is for you. It won’t show you storm track Doppler radar, but it will give you current conditions in a quick easy read.

Designed by David Elgena, this app just got purchased and moved to my iPhone’s home screen.

Light Up Friday Afternoon with “Rima”.

For the last 4 days I have been working on a heavy animation piece that at times makes my eyes spin. It’s partly due to the red and white patterns I am animating, and partly due to the low light that I work in. This might explain my obsession of late with lighting fixtures and lamps, although I doubt it.

This afternoon while rendering a section of footage I took some time to cruise through a number of design/manufacturing sites, and I came across this wonderful desk lamp from Dreipuls. Rima absolutely knocked me over when I saw the images and video on the Dreipuls website. The lamp is elegant, clean, and feels like something Dieter Rams would have designed for Braun back in the day.

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Rima is a unique lamp that allows the user to adjust lighting by moving light, not the lamp to the desired location. This is made possible by several series-connected LEDs which are controlled by moving rings on a processor which controls the light. The position of each ring controls the amount of power given to each LED bank within the lamp, the angle of each LED, the color of the light, and light intensity. This allows whoever is using the lamp to vary each LED group in a multitude of ways.

Bartholomäus Traubeck, “Years” A Turntable That Plays Trees.

I dream of getting my hands on a working vintage Braun Stereo designed by Dieter Rams. There is something about the idea of playing vinyl records on an old analog turntable that warms my heart. Something about Rams design for Braun makes my heart skip a beat.

Artist Bartholomäus Traubeck also has a thing for vintage analog stereo gear, but he has taken it a step further by creating a turntable that plays slices of a tree trunk to create sound. The turntable analyses the tree trunks year rings for their strength, thickness and rate of growth as the input source for a generative algorithm. That algorithm outputs piano music.

What a totally cool work of art.

Braun Re-issues Deiter Rams Designed Watches.

In the mid 1970’s Braun issued a series of watches designed by the legendary Dieter Rams. That same series of watches has recently been re-issued with some minor modifications approved by Dietrich Lubs. The Braun watches were designed by Rams to provide a stylish minimalist solution to telling time, and that design aesthetic still holds up today. The watches feature three muted color systems, clean minimal lines, and solid material choices. That clean and minimal aesthetic is a Rams signature and, plays a major role in the Braun timepiece’s development. For further information on Braun watches and a complete look at the line go here, Braun-clocks.com.

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