This Elegant Glass Speaker Magnifies Sounds From Your Smartphone
Artisans at the Tokyo-based homeware company Sugahara have been handcrafting gracefully curvy, minimal objects from glass since its founding, in 1932. Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of the notoriously difficult material, its offerings often take unexpected forms, such as faceted, paper-thin vases and a collection of cups, plates, and bowls made entirely out of scrap glass, sourced from Sugahara’s factory in Chiba, Japan, as part of an ongoing effort to minimize waste in its production process.
Its most inventive piece transcends the tabletop and enters the realm of sound. Sugahara’s Exponential glass speaker, a hollow orb with a wide, funnel-shaped center, acts as an amplifier, much like the flower-shaped horn of an old-fashioned gramophone. To use it, play what you want to hear on your smartphone and place it inside the cavity, which will enhance the sonic vibrations as they travel through the air. (Sugahara has also developed a music-maker devoid of electronics: Its take on a traditional Japanese wind bell, or furin, is a sphere suspended from a wood frame, with a tiny strip of paper hanging from the inside that creates a gentle tinkling tone.) Each speaker is individually blown, and therefore one of a kind, but the design’s full-bodied resonance remains unchanged. As its name suggests, the device can produce an endless number of auditory experiences. Some might be inclined to play a soothing symphony via the elegant apparatus—but don’t be shy about trying it out with heavy metal, samba, or jazz.