As a designer, I love experimenting with different materials and have become particularly fascinated with concrete. In fact, I created a bespoke leather jacket with digitally printed concrete textured panels and concrete composite buttons. Subsequently, this led to the development of a very unique concrete timepiece called the ‘Edge’. This watch was featured in Mondani magazine and a collaborative effort with famous Russian watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin.
A few years ago the term ‘Concrete Jungle’ was coined to describe high density living in city or urban areas. These buildings were perceived as visually unattractive and certainly an unpleasant living environment. At this stage, concrete was considered a cold brutalist material that was devoid of any aesthetic merit. Ironically this has all changed and now this composite of course aggregate and cement are one of the most popular choices in contemporary residential architecture. In fact, my latest book entitled ‘Concrete Dream Homes’ (due to be published in 2021) features 25 prime examples from around the world. It also has influenced designers like Jonathan Levine to create innovative products like the MA770 wireless speaker.
Approximately 18-months ago (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) I had a very interesting conversation with Jonathan Levine who is the co-founder of boutique audio company Master & Dynamic. I informed him of all my projects and how much I admired his products. In particular, I was intrigued by the MA770 wireless speaker that is fabricated from a special concrete composite and co-designed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye. As far as I am aware there’s nothing else on the market quite like this. Certainly, the design is bold but is this a case of style over substance!
A few years ago I watched a documentary about Sir David Adjaye (OBE) called ‘Collaborations’ chronicling all his achievements. These include residential homes for Alexander McQueen and Ewan McGregor. However, more recently he has completed larger-scale projects like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. Therefore, I was interested to learn what motivated him to co-design a wireless speaker for Master & Dynamics. Jonathan explained that their paths collided at a design convention where they were both keynote speakers. Apparently, David Adjaye is an audiophile and was very receptive to the idea from the outset.
To quote Sir David Adjaye “This speaker is not about the traditional idea of making boxes, but about a directional form. I became fascinated with the idea of using triangles to break down the mass of the box and to see if we could dissolve the sense of volume through sculptural detail. We created a new geometry for this speaker. A new geometry of sound.” Certainly, I couldn’t have described the MA770 wireless speaker more comprehensively. The design is radical and may not appeal to the faint-hearted as it has a very bold contemporary appearance. However, there is a raw minimalistic quality that is totally alluring.
I am sure there are sceptics out there that would feel the MA770 wireless speaker is a novelty product designed to get media attention. Certainly, Jonathan is a progressive thinker that doesn’t conform to conventional ideas. However, the build quality and sound of the speaker is absolutely exceptional. In fact, this is a modern sophisticated interpretation of the classic ‘Ghetto Blaster’. As well as having a refined modernistic architectural appearance the hand-finished solid concrete case also offers superior acoustic performance.
In no way is the MA770 wireless speaker a novelty product. This audio device is equipped with an efficient dual 4″ woven long-throw woofers and a 1.5″ titanium tweeter. Essentially this ensures a rich textured sound quality for all types of music. Dimensionally the speaker exudes compact proportions and measures 370mm x 458mm x 242mm. Therefore, it is suitable for home offices or smaller living areas. The MA770 wireless speaker also has a minimalistic façade with an uncluttered diamond-cut anodized aluminium control panel. Connectivity is enabled either via Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity (my preferred option) or Chromecast streaming, which can be operated by your phone/portable digital audio player.
Over the last few months (under COVID-19 conditions) I have extensively tested the MA770 wireless speaker with a variety of different types of music. Generally, I am trapped in a seventies bubble and listen to songs by ELO, Marvin Gay, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan etc. However, more recently I have expanded my repertoire to include film scores by legendary composers Bernard Herrmann and Miklós Rózsa. Even at high volume, the MA770 responded well and I didn’t experience any distortion.
In conclusion, the MA770 wireless speaker is a well-designed audio device that delivers a beautiful sound quality normally found in more expensive systems. It is available in natural concrete or a sleek black version (depending on your preference) with a magnetic detachable grill. To purchase this product follow this link