Touching the aluminum created a bit of magic feel that was unseen at the time.
A design should relate to the phenomenon mega trend. These differ from short-lived trends that only refer to fashion and taste. The mega trends however, are related to technology and our perceptions of what it can do, and how we use it. When designing products that are mending for a long life, we have to be aware of these movements. Visually, we need to be in time with them or in front of them.
BeoCenter 2 came after products like BeoSound 9000 and BeoSound Ouverture that played visually with the CD medium. It was clear that this story had now been told and we needed to hide the disc away and tell another story. Notebooks were getting popular at that time.
We expected that the next mega trend would mean that soon there would be no center master for audio. Instead, we envisioned portable devices that you could sit with in your sofa and find content, audio and video, and either enjoy this personally or throw it up on your big speakers or screen.
At that time, the technology was not ready for wireless transmission. What we could do was shape the BeoCenter 2 as a free-floating unit. An oval shape has no sides that it can rest on and is therefore floating above the surface, table or wall, as an almost non-wired object.
The whole front was made into an operating panel. Not from glass but with clean sheets of aluminum. Touching the aluminum created a bit of magic feel that was unseen at the time. Mechanically, it was a very difficult solution with the aluminum cut razor thin at the touch area. Behind the aluminum sheet was the disc and we had to find a nice way to give access to it.
The solution was two doors that open up like the wings of a ladybug, just taking up a little more space when open – and creating a little magic in the process.