Bang & Olufsen are nearly 100 years old. In that time, the Danish company has designed some of the most original, ingenious and downright beautiful electrical products the world has seen. The brand, founded in 1925, has always placed great emphasis on quality materials, effective, simple design, and ease of use — and decades before firms such as Apple made those qualities their signatures. In fact, B&O’s BeoCom 6000 telephone was said to be the main inspiration behind the original iPod, with its sleek profile and famous click wheel.
Plenty of other B&O products have stood the test of time, becoming design icons in their own right. Take the Beolit 39, for instance, with its smooth curves and perfect, minimal proportions. If it wasn’t made from Bakelite and you didn’t notice its screen wasn’t touch sensitive, you’d be hard pressed to guess it was designed in 1938. It looks modern, fit for purpose and simple to use, three traits that define many products in the B&O catalogue. For decades the brand was a pioneer in its field, hiring iconic industrial designers like Jacob Jensen to pen its products, placing it at the forefront of the Danish modern movement. But where do Bang & Olufsen sit in the market today, where design and user experience are more important than ever?
The man behind B&O’s growth is Kristian Teär, who was named chief executive at the end of 2019, shortly before the coronavirus gripped the world and its spending habits. While he may not quite have been expecting a pandemic to turn business upside down, his vast background in consumer electronics, including previous positions at Logitech, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson, means he is well placed to steer the ship.