These DIY speakers can be assembled in 10-minutes and offer a full sensorial experience Some of us paint, some of us take photos and some of us design stunning stereo loudspeakers that inspire conscious listening. The latest offering from design studio, Sinestesia Design, these visually simple yet pleasing speakers made from recycled leather offer the listener a sensorial and educational experience. Giacinto is the first DIY stereo loudspeaker that invites the user of any age to listen to music in a more conscious way, by offering a sensorial and educational experience thanks to its special design made out of recycled leather that is foldable and easy to assemble: “it requires less than 10 minutes”, designers Ludovica Vando and Lorenzo Appiani tell us. Once up and running, the speakers measure 17cm x 15cm x 15cm making them easily portable, either outside or around the house – let the music follow you, why not. Giacinto took four months to define, design and deliver: ‘it took us one month to define the concept, two months to research and design it and a final month for the first prototype, originally made out of cork, to be ready”. However, it would take even longer for the meticulous designers to deem the product market ready. They spent another six-months reworking the design so it was cleaner, researching the sounding box and changing the modulating filters. Almost two years on and they decided that the best way to deliver something perfect in design and sound quality was to collaborate with a sound studio – this way the internal technology could be upgraded. What has emerged is not only a design triumph but an experience, one which moves the mind, the body and even the spirit. A combination of function, beauty and humanity which can be so hard to find within technology these days. We spoke to designers Ludovica and Lorenzo to find out more. The Plus: What was the initial inspiration of this project? Ludovica & Lorenzo: We started this project back in 2013 when we met in university during our master in Product Service System Design at Politecnico of Milan. We were asked to create a smart product to sell in the gift shop of the Science and Technology museum. We got inspired by the history of the radio and started a research on sound frequencies. We developed the first prototype of Giacinto and its sound modulating filters, each of which was made out of a different sound absorbing material. Once placed in front of the speakers, the filters would cut the frequencies of the sound in different ways (high/low/middle based on the filters chosen). We were invited to exhibit it in the museum and during the Design Week of that year and the feedback was so good that after graduating, we continued to develop it until achieving what you’re seeing now. TP: What do you like about the idea of DIY? L & L: Creating DIY products reduces highly the production costs and time in favor of a higher user engagement and, in this case, user experience with the product. It makes users feel part of the production process, which becomes completely transparent, honest and comprehensive to them. DIY products close the gap between designers and end-user, generating trust and even an empathy towards the products they themselves are assembling. There is a huge invisible work behind a simple DIY product such as Giacinto, that requires a smart design of the entire production process and of the optimization of the space and material. It allows to have less waste material, save resources and therefore to be less environmentally impactful. The result is always a simple, clean, essential kit. TP: How did you determine the materials? L & L: We’ve made a deep research on all the materials generally used to isolate or absorb sound, from the classical ones like cardboard and foam, to more interesting ones like cork and other materials used in the edile industry. ‘Material Libraries’ have been really helpful for that. Moreover, in the science and technology of Milano, we were able to realize which kind of materials worked best as frequencies modulators, in relation to history of the radio. Sound design experts have been very helpful in this, too. Each material was tested and retested to choose the most interesting and effective ones. TP: How did you determine the aesthetics of the product? You also designed a range of textures, are you going to design more patterns? L & L: We’ve changed the aesthetics of the product three times, but we were always sure about the kind of impact on the user it should have had. So we started by choosing materials that had a human touch and went on thinking about how to give a soul to Giacinto, in order to make people grow fond of it as if it wasn’t a simply functional or beautiful product. We decided to work on trust and therefore on transparency. DIY came out as an easy and interesting consequence. So we determined the design in parallel with the production process and considering the choice of a flexible material for the shell. To optimize the material, we knew that lines had to be as easy, clean and geometric as possible, but also that this didn’t mean that the assembled product couldn’t be very organic. We tried out million different shapes and filled out endless papers with sketches, until ironically the very final form came out by chance while playing with the paper bag that contains fork and knife, in a restaurant. We’ve tested that shape and the sound was amazing, so we kept it. TP: Do you consider Sinestesia, an inspiration in terms of art and design? L & L: Well, inspiration is an important word for a tiny studio like ours, but of course our aim is to serve as an example among many others of how to design in a more conscious, smart and interacting way. We believe that in a world of consumerism, producing simply functional items is not what we need anymore. We are lacking experiences, which are the only thing that lasts longer than a product and that can raise awareness in people of how slowly we are forgetting the pleasure of discovering, building and learning. Sinestesia aims to elevate or add experiences to products, spaces and services, by inviting the single user to be actively part of them through interaction and stimulation of the several senses at the same time. TP: Tell us a little bit about your team and your next plan? L & L: Sinestesia is composed by Ludovica Vando and Lorenzo Appiani. Ludovica graduated in Product Design and Lorenzo in Graphic Design at Politecnico of Milan. We met while doing a masters in Product Service System Design at Politecnico and immediately felt a special synergy, not only in terms of collaboration but also in terms of friendship. Finding the perfect balance, having trust and respecting each other is at the basis of every great team and we feel very lucky to have that. Each one of us has different skills so we do not even need to discuss about who will do what, which makes things very light and easy to handle besides saving a lot of time. Currently, we are running a Kickstarter campaign, which will allow us to work on a bigger production. In parallel we are prototyping an external blue tooth connection, new sound modulating filters and developing the concept of an application. This are our future steps concerning Giacinto, but there are a lot of other ideas in store that we can’t wait to explore. If you want to support them, click here.