How the record player by IKEA and Swedish House Mafia came to be
How do you make a record player bold, yet simple and affordable enough to be fit to gift a friend? That’s the question engineer Carmen Stoicescu and designer Friso Wiersma sought to answer for IKEA and Swedish House Mafia’s OBEGRÄNSAD collection – resulting in the first record player from IKEA since 1973.
I never thought I'd work with producing a record player.
The surprise that became a record player
Designing with both simplicity and boldness in mind
“Today you see a lot of slim record players that are almost trying to hide, but we wanted something very bold, and we wanted the record player to be a very physical manifestation of music”, says Friso. “Everything with Swedish House Mafia is a very conscious statement. I really like that approach. Music is a big part of my life as well. I would want to showcase that in my interior too”.
The first suggestion for the record player from Swedish House Mafia was a sketch of it in the form of a circle. It didn’t quite work functionally, but Friso really liked the idea and made sure to bring it into the design of the final product.
“The square and the circle together, the chunkiness of the whole piece – it gives just the statement that we wanted for the record player.”
A bold yet simple design to the eye, bringing the principles of Democratic Design to the development of a record player was nonetheless a challenge.
“There’s nothing simple about designing something that looks very simple. It’s actually even more complicated to develop”, says Friso. “The engine of it all, having a pre-amplifier built in, getting enough juice from just a simple USB cable to run everything. There are so many things happening inside the product without you noticing as a customer. Carmen and the technical team really did some major work in making it all happen.”
An affordable record player for the many
Bringing past learnings into the new project, Carmen coordinated between different functions and expertise at IKEA to get everything in place for the record player to become a reality. The notion of keeping it simple echoed in the technical development as well.
“In the previous project, we tried giving a specific design to all parts, but with OBEGRÄNSAD, we tried to limit the molds. We wanted to make it simple, mechanical – so we looked into what gives the best sound, and we put all our eggs in that basket.”
The basket in question? A replaceable cartridge and needle of well-known make and good quality, as well as a sound, solid overall construction bound to absorb any vibrations from where the record player sits comfortably, say, in or on an IKEA furniture solution.
The IKEA and Swedish House Mafia OBEGRÄNSAD record player and collection is set to launch in Fall 2022.