Beolab 18

An icon is reborn

Beolab 17

A transformation artist

David Lewis 1939-2011

By Torsten Valeur

November 9, 2011

Curriculum Vitae
of David Lewis

of Torsten Valeur


The Road to inspiration runs from Copenhagen to Struer

Beolab 17 is a compact and extremely versatile high performing loudspeaker that can fit in everywhere and magically change visual appearance. Beolab 17 invites to play with the possibilities and create the desired expression.

The true magic is how the same speaker can appear very differently depending on how you place it. The look of Beolab 17 ranges from a very casual youthful look to a more dedicated and elegant sound solution. When the Beolab 17 is placed vertically on the floor it looks like the speaker monitors from concert stages inviting you to perform your own show. Standing horizontal they look very formal and hanging on the wall it’s like the archetype of a speaker. Put on the stand leaning slightly back they look rather young and informal but still classical.

The basic shape of the speaker and the well thought out flexible stand and bracket program gives very extensive placement options. The width and height makes it possible to place Beolab 17 in a standard bookshelf both horizontal and vertical. The triangular profile of the body makes you able to place the speaker completely inside at a wall corner or near the ceiling, or you can place it in the middle of the wall and angle it as you desire. A small foot let you place Beolab 17 horizontally directly on the floor or have it hanging down from the ceiling. Beolab 17 can be put on a stand that is so integrated that the joint and wiring is completely hidden.

The main form element is based on a triangle, a square and a circle. The soft curved triangular cabinet is made in one piece of aluminum that wraps around the inner speaker with precise air gab that makes the inner speaker appears hanging suspended inside the aluminum cabinet. The edge of the cabinet creates an unbroken line that simply continues endlessly like the “lemniscate” the infinity symbol. Beolab 17 has no fixed top, bottom, sides or back, all sides are shaped so it would look right in all positions.

The speaker grille is for the first time positioned behind the aluminum cabinet. Now closed by a visually strong border it is possible to have a much greater variations of material, structure and pattern, without spoiling the visual simplicity. One of the speaker fronts is the “broken ice pattern”. It refers to what we find in new lamps, furniture and architecture. It gives life to and a kind of depth to the speaker front, and brings it into a relationship with the surrounding milieu. The pattern is not purely decoration. It is actually the fabric carrier that for the first time is placed in front of the fabric, visualizing the pattern of it.

I was inspired by all the different ways a speaker appears, on stages, at street dance shows, in people’s houses. The frozen ice pattern was inspired by the beautiful sight of a lake in early spring when the water is still frozen lightly. It is so crispy, clear and transparent that it reminds me of clean sound. I was driven by my desire to give shape, to grind out forms, find precision and strong geometry in slightly organic forms. It is a process of driven Bang & Olufsen design into new territory without losing the tradition of strong precise identity, craftsmanship and logic idea-driven shape.


David Lewis Designers ApS Blegdamsvej 28D
2200 København N
T +45 33 13 69 35