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 about this to customers of 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 ambiance. Oupio was born.
The resulting spherical object has a diameter of 22 centimeters. Crafted from carefully selected wood (oak, ash or cork), glass (white opal) and anodized aluminum, Oupio is also modular. Its modularity means 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, and drivers that are placed in a way that turns them into a virtual coaxial driver, Oupio offers high-fidelity, well-balanced sound with plenty of bass and clarity. While covering a wide range of frequencies (65Hz to 20KHz), you can also crank it up enough to annoy the neighbours (90dB).
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 will be launching their 30-day Indiegogo campaign – complete with special rewards and heavily discounted rates. The company seeks to raise 50,000 euros to realize the first production run. The first Oupio’s are scheduled for shipment in July 2020.