An impossibly slim speaker delivering an unparalleled sound experience

Sonos partnered with our product design team (formerly MATTER Global) to help explore and uncover new possibilities for their latest home theater product, PLAYBASE.

Informed by research into user needs and wants, we worked closely with Sonos on superior audio experience design concepts that would 1) offer quick, easy set-up, 2) fit in any home, 3) work with most televisions sets, and 4) sit on all types of furniture. Working within these constraints, our aim was to deliver a first-class audio experience through a minimalist, unobtrusive design.

Following preliminary prototyping, we brought early mock-ups into a variety of homes to test our theories on size, shape and overall perception of our concepts with the people who would ultimately use them. The final form ­is an elongated oblong with generous rounded corners, but also allows for broad projection of sound in larger, shared spaces.

Once we had defined the product form, our next major design challenge was simplicity. Rather than call attention to the product, we wanted the technology to disappear within the room. We therefore removed all evidence of construction, such as split lines and material breaks, to achieve a low-profile design that practically disappears. The PLAYBASE therefore looks as though it were hewn from a solid piece of material, aside from the necessary interactive sound and control elements and one rounded, gently recessed button through which the speaker can be linked to a network and other Sonos speakers.

Working closely with Sonos’s team of world-renowned experts in design, acoustic engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, radio-frequency engineering, firmware and software, we challenged the limitations of manufacturing to produce a genuinely unique product.

After initial development, multiple rounds of prototypes and thousands of hours of design and engineering, the result is a beautiful, simple form housing raw power and unparalleled sound.