Hybrid product Oupio, combines hi-fi speakers with human centric lighting
The quest for dynamic ambience
“We’re not wired to live in confined spaces with fixed ambiences,” says Vlad Iorgulescu, founder and designer at Oupio. “Ambience should be dynamic and respond to our human needs – so it can have a positive influence on our mood, health and wellbeing.”
“And while current technologies offer a vast array of functionality, they also create a vast array of clutter. So we also need hybrid products, with mixed functionality, that merge tech with interior design principles and, as a result, seamlessly integrate into any home environment.”
“Companies such as Google call the application of these notions ‘neuroaesthetics’. We prefer to call it good design,” says Vlad.
In other words: our living spaces need an update.
No more landfill
“As a product designer, I saw a lot of products that fall under the category ‘future landfill materials’,” says Vlad. “But when we began talking to customers about our design and engineering consultancy Creative Pill, we realized it’s a shared desire to build things that last – both in their function and their aesthetic.”
With a background in architecture, Vlad decided to apply this philosophy to product design. Building a small dedicated global team of designers, engineers and audio/electronics specialists, he set out to design a hybrid product that could define a room’s ambience. Oupio was born.
The resulting spherical object has a diameter of 22 centimetres. Crafted from oak, ash or cork wood, white opal glass and anodized aluminium, Oupio is also highly versatile as it can be installed anywhere, whether as a pendant or desk lamp.
More than anything else, sound and light define a room’s ambience. “Yes, air quality is another important factor, and early prototypes did actually include sensors. But then we decided to keep things simple,” chuckles Vlad.
In fact, fully integrating sound with light is not simple at all: “They don’t like being together in the same small space. For example, the LED drivers create noise and the LEDs themselves generate a lot of heat that we needed to dissipate so it would not interfere with the sound.”
Such challenges explain why somewhat similar existing products on the market are not true hybrids but merely ‘glue’ together different functions into one object. With the glass lamp shade doubling as the actual acoustic chamber, Oupio is a true hybrid.
‘Human-centric lighting’ is a term that is gaining traction. Scientific studies have shown that the moon’s white light boosts productivity, while sunset yellows boost melatonin production for a restful night’s sleep.
By using twenty 1-watt LEDs, Oupio covers the full spectrum of natural sunlight (2,700K to 6,000K). “If the Indiegogo campaign is particularly successful we hope, as a stretch goal, to apply RGB LEDs for the initial production run – so by flickering these, we can, for example, simulate fireplace lighting,” says Vlad.
However, current functionality is already impressive: producing up to 2,000 lumens makes it perfect for a modest living room or a large bedroom. With the LEDs designed for a lifetime of at least 10,000 hours, you’ll never have to change a lightbulb again.
Audiophiles will be particularly impressed by the many interesting tech and design choices made by the Oupio team.
Using the patented Balance Mode Radiator technology from sound innovators Tectonic Audio Labs, which ensures the sound is distributed evenly throughout a room.
Music streaming is done via Bluetooth or audio cable, while Oupio’s various functions can be controlled via the intuitive touch interface. Groups of up to five units can be made via a dedicated low-latency WiFi network.
Fund and purchase via Indiegogo
On 26 June 2019, Oupio launched their 30-day Indiegogo campaign – complete with special rewards and heavily discounted rates. The company seeks to raise 50,000 € to realize the first production run. The first Oupio’s are scheduled for shipment in July 2020.