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How to put the art in smart - Financial Times

Author: Financial Times

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/83ac4622-3ae5-4579-8ba5-5455858fe31f

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Unlock the Editor’s Digest for freeRoula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.Speak to meHi-fi speakers are generally designed to be neutral objects, blending in to create the illusion of music magically emerging into a space.But not this time.South African-born artist Conor Mccreedy, famed for gestural paintings in his signature blue, has transformed Piega’s stately MLS 2 Gen2 speakers into an astonishing artwork featuring chaotic painting, poetry, handprints and dripping pigment.There’s certainly no question of where the sound is coming from.“It’s so bold, but so serene,” says Mccreedy. “And they look like I’ve created a sculpture from one of my paintings… They give me goosebumps, I just love them.”Piega special-edition Master Line Source 2 (Gen 2), €100,000 Mccreedy’s studio is in an old Roman townhouse in Zürich, while Piega’s headquarters is just 20km away in the town of Horgen, overlooking the Zürichsee.Given Mccreedy’s all-encompassing love of music, a collaboration was perhaps inevitable.“At boarding school I used to lock myself away and listen to Buddhist chants.Everyone thought I was a weirdo,” he says.“But today I’ve got Piega speakers set up on all five floors of my studio. One day I went to their factory to see the technology, and we came up with the idea together: to make the most beautiful speakers that look like sculptures.” There are parallels with Mccreedy’s work on a Steinway & Sons piano, where a pristine white instrument was likewise transformed – chaos on the outside, a perfect mechanism within.But Mccreedy’s chaos isn’t achieved in a chaotic fashion.“We spent weeks working on it,” he says.“We had to design the concept before I got to work, because there’s no trial and error here.You can’t screw up on speakers like these.” (An unadorned pair of MLS2s will set you back €75,000.) Conor Mccreedy at work on the Piega special-edition speakers The high-end acoustic properties of Piega speakers are well documented, but rather than present some dry details pertaining to frequency response, we’ll let Mccreedy have the last word. “It’s like wearing soundproof headphones,” he says.“I’ve been listening to opera on them while working on a new project, and it’s as if I’m in the opera house.I’ve never had that experience before.It goes deep into the cortex.” Piega special-edition Master Line Source 2 (Gen 2), €100,000, piega.chPlanet of the BAPEASUS Vivobook S 15 BAPE Edition, £1,099 Japanese street-style fashion brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE for short) is not one to shy away from high-profile collaborations.ASUS is now added to a long list that includes Pepsi, Adidas and Comme des Garçons, and the result is a special-edition Vivobook, sandblasted with a matte finish and etched with a unique version of the camo pattern so closely associated with the brand. The laptop is just one element of the package; the box also contains a mouse, carry case and a Baby Milo figurine that is, rather cutely, carrying its own ASUS Vivobook.The whole package feels like the kind of thing you buy two of in order to keep one of them pristine, a must for the urban fashion collector.ASUS Vivobook S 15 BAPE Edition, £1,099Take a seatDavid Harber sycamore chair, £40,200 © Sim Canetty-ClarkeDavid Harber, the sculptor responsible for the drinking fountain in Hyde Park and the pendulum in the middle of Jeddah Airport, returned this year to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.The works on display included this kinetic stainless-steel sculpture (a collaboration with jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas), a 1.75m-high chair that rotates on an axis like a falling sycamore seed.The champagne-gold finish, abstract patterns, curved flutes and the shadows they cast are the main draw, but given that this is Technopolis, it’s worth saluting the precision-engineered, zero-maintenance bearing system in the ground beneath the chair, which enables it to spin freely through 360 degrees in all seasons. Sycamore chair, £40,200, davidharber.co.ukA view to a thrillLoewe Iconic v65, £7,999 In 1931, Loewe presented the world with the first fully electronic TV.This year, to celebrate the firm’s centenary, it is giving us the world’s first consumer electronics product to be made from a recycled material called Syno-Stone.The process isn’t pretty: high-end work surfaces of marble and quartz are crushed incredibly finely, combined with a special adhesive and baked at insanely high temperatures – but the resulting 82kg model looks magnificent.Today’s super-thin bezels mean most TVs are about the screen and little else, and we place them on units and walls at a range of heights, many of them faintly preposterous.The form, height and angle of the Loewe Iconic, however, just feels perfect: how televisions this size ought to be. Loewe Iconic v65, £7,999Get the pictureVieunite Textura, £490 Digital photo frames are ten-a-penny, but sumptuous 27in digital canvases that bring the Old Masters into your living room aren’t.They both work on the same principle – essentially displaying high-resolution images on a screen – but the Textura’s backlight levels and anti-glare finish make for a discreet presence, particularly if you chase the inevitable USB power cable into the wall behind.You can use it to display whatever you like (an app lets you choose what, and for how long) but partnerships with galleries such as the RBSA and the Art Institute of Chicago offer a wealth of inspiration.You can also buy work by emerging artists, curated by Vieunite’s cultural director, Dr Benedict Carpenter van Barthold.Vieunite Textura, £490@rhodri

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