Design

In plain sight: luxury tech that looks like art

You’ve heard of Samsung’s Frame – what’s coming next in luxury home technology?

Last year, Samsung’s remarkable Frame TV shook up the tech and design worlds simultaneously. If you missed it’s arrival onto the home-design scene, the Frame is essentially a super-thin HD TV that displays works of art when it’s not in use, and which dims in line with natural light levels, blending seamlessly into its environs.

It got us thinking, what else is out there that ticks both boxes: interior design and impressive tech? Turns out there’s quite a bit. Here are three recent tech developments that transform the way your home looks, as well as the way it functions.

BeoSound Shape, luxury tech1. BeoSound Shape

Any guesses what the installation on that wall is? Yep, it’s a speaker – or rather speakers. Bang & Olufsen’s striking BeoSound Shape modular sound system has been purposefully designed to both transform the ‘acoustic quality’ of your living space and blend seamlessly in with it.

Each hexagonal tile conceals either an amplifier, speaker or acoustic damper that can be combined and connected in any shape you choose. The Sound Shape can be either as small or as sizeable as you choose (just keep adding to it), and different speakers can connect wireless across different rooms in the house. There’s approaching a dozen different tile colours to choose from, too, including limited edition textile coverings by Danish design house Kvadrat. It’s half-sculpture, half-wall installation.

Quite apart from its aesthetic impact, the Sound Shape employs B&O’s signature Band on the Wall soundscaping technology to deliver a rich wall of sound that emulates the experience of listening to a live band – with vocals projected from the centre of the speakers and instruments to the sides.

When it’s off, it functions as a resonance damper thanks to its sound-absorbing tiles, so it’s well suited to softening sounds in hard, modern spaces, as well. You can even design your own before you choose to take the plunge, thanks to B&O’s handy online tool.

From £2,695, bang-olufsen.com

Bild 9 TV luxury tech2. Loewe Bild 9

Who knew that televisions could double as sculptures? The Bild 9 can, anyway. A refined version of Loewe’s remarkable 7 4K HDR OLED television (which put simply is one of the highest definition, hi-tech TVs money can buy), the screen is mounted on a striking gold or gunmetal asymmetric stand, inspired by the slim, angular lines of the Bauhaus movement.

The screen itself is a mere 7mm thick – that’s thinner than most smartphones – and can be mounted on the wall or held aloft by its aforementioned stand. Either way, the Bild 9’s lines play with perspective and the screen is almost scarily slim. In short, it transforms the functional, black goggle box into the design focal point of the room.

£6,990, loewe.tv

Google Home speakers, luxury tech3. Google Home Smart Speaker

We’re back to audio with this one, but with a few key differences. If, understandably, investing in the BeoSound Shape is a little ambitious, or you’re tight for space, Google’s nifty hands-free Home Smart Speaker’s a compact, but chic alternative.

Of course, it’s a wireless speaker first and foremost, but it’s powered by Google Assistant: you can ask it questions, give it commands and generally have it organise your day-to-day – it links to your smartphone, Google calendar, reminders, alarms and other apps, too. Plus, it supports multiple users, so the whole family can get in on the personal-assistant act.

It’s small but perfectly formed exterior contains a surprisingly punchy sound-system and it’s smooth, conical design feels perfectly post-modern. Leave it on show and impressive your guests with your pseudo-cultural capital and your tech-savvy know-how at the same time.

£129, johnlewis.com