German consumer products brand Braun has been in the game for a long time – 100 years to be exact. That’s why it’s one of the first names to pop into people’s minds when you think of shaving. With a seemingly scientific formula for form meets function in every product, their decision to tap Virgil Abloh to celebrate their centennial was a great marriage of minds.
Instead of opting to design a razor, which would’ve been the most obvious choice, Abloh took inspiration from his side hustle of being a DJ and created a “functional” art piece out of the Wandanlage hi-fi wall unit stereo system. Originally designed by Dieter Rams, the 2021 version features a metallic finish that “is a visual manifestation of the parallels between Braun’s polished chrome design aesthetic – such as the 1960 SM3 shaver and 1961 T1 toaster – and the high shine of Virgil Abloh’s cultural and musical references of the past 100 years.” The piece is not only meant to look aesthetically pleasing, but to sound amazing and to last a long time.
Virgil had this to say:
“I have always had a deep appreciation for Braun design. For the brand’s 100 years, I jumped at the opportunity to reimagine this iconic Braun product and challenge what we have come to expect from design. The “functional art” piece co-curated with Braun Design not only highlights the original function of the hi fi wall unit that was the best audio of its time, but also the quality and durable materials that are built to last. As a creator, I continue to question how art is perceived in today’s culture. “Functional art” is a lasting legacy of the enduring power of good design that is simple, useful and built to last. In so doing, it advances the frames of design references beyond design ‘purists’ to broader audiences.”
The creative collaboration also includes a “genre-less” music track titled “Internationalism” and a short film shot at Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois – designed by “less is more” German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.