A Clever New Spatial Audio Speaker by Sonos, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

The new Sonos Era 300 speaker. Image courtesy of Sonos

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

A Clever New Spatial Audio Speaker by Sonos

A pair of AirPods and Spotify’s questionable new TikTok-inspired feed may appeal to casual listeners, but Sonos has always held out on delivering a 360-degree musical experience. (That’s because music helps us stay sane.) The brand’s latest speaker, the Era 300, is designed as such. Spaced within the product’s elegantly cinched hourglass shape is an array of speakers angled around the front, top, and sides, blasting audio in all directions—including 10 degrees upward, an angle engineers determined helps simulate truly immersive sound. 

Clever spatial audio technology isn’t Era 300’s only appeal. Focused on reducing the brand’s environmental footprint, Sonos eschewed plastic adhesives for nearly 100 screws holding together the speaker’s interior architecture. This makes disassembly a breeze, helping streamline repairs and ultimately extending the product’s lifespan. Also on the sustainability front: nearly 50 percent recycled plastic construction. —Ryan Waddoups

The birthplace of Nina Simone in Tryon, NC. Photography by Nancy Pierce, courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Venus Williams co-curates an auction to help preserve Nina Simone’s childhood home.

Tennis star and collector Venus Williams, along with artist Adam Pendleton, will curate a charity auction with Sotheby’s to support the preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home. The event will take place May 20 at Pace Gallery’s flagship New York location and will include works by Pendleton, Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, and more. “Each of the artists Adam and I have selected has a unique, powerful voice, and we’ve been moved by their generosity and enthusiasm for this important cause,” Williams said in a statement. 

Elon Musk is building his own Texas town to house employees of Boring and SpaceX.

Tech titan Elon Musk is reportedly building a town called Snailbrook in Bastrop County, Texas, on at least 3,500 acres of land, to create a live-work community for employees of Boring and SpaceX. The town would provide lower-than-market-rate housing and allow Musk to avoid bureaucracy and make his own regulations. With modular homes, a public pool, gym, and outdoor sports area, the town is set to benefit the employees and provide them with a comfortable living space.

According to a new study, public sector architects often make below minimum wage.

Artists working in the public sector face a culture of low fees, unpaid labor, and systemic exploitation, according to a new report titled “Structurally F*cked.” The study, conducted by Industria after surveying over 100 peers, found that artists are being paid an overall median hourly rate of £2.60 ($3.17), well below the UK minimum wage of £9.50 ($11.57). Many have to take on multiple jobs to subsidize poorly paid commissions, and some have left the profession altogether due to mental health and financial concerns. The report calls for greater transparency, solidarity among those working in the sector, and support for a unionized campaign for a £15 ($18.27) hourly minimum wage.

Allegris concept for Lufthansa Business Class. Image courtesy of Pearson Lloyd/Spoon Visuals

Lufthansa is rolling out a new business class concept designed with Pearson Lloyd. 

Lufthansa Business Class is upping the ante with a new design concept called Allegris, which it created in collaboration with London design studio Pearson Lloyd. Acknowledging the evolving nature of business class travel, the concept is structured around three basic elements of Calm, Share, and Focus, which enable passengers to fly while working, relaxing, or engaging with others. The cabin design is part of Lufthansa’s $2 billion fleet upgrade as they compete to capture a loyal clientele in the booming business class sector.

Nancy Yao is named director of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Museum.

Nancy Yao, the current president of the Museum of Chinese in America, has been named as the founding director of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Museum. Despite the congressional approval two years ago, many details about the museum remain unknown, such as construction costs, the displayed objects, and the location. Yao has faced several challenges during her time at the Museum of Chinese in America, including a fire that destroyed the building and decreased local support due to a controversy about funding. She plans to start her new position in June and hopes to create a museum that tells the story of all Americans and their ancestors.

A new Harvard GSD survey suggests most architectural tasks can be done remotely.

According to a recent survey conducted by Harvard Graduate School of Design, the majority of architectural tasks can be done remotely. The survey gathered 221 responses from professionals across 117 firms and 159 cities and states. The results show architects believe almost all tasks can be performed remotely, except for a few including punch listing, site analysis of existing conditions, and networking and marketing. The study also revealed a shift in working patterns from in-person to remote, indicating that the pandemic has significantly changed the way architects practice.

Ikea’s PAX closet storage system. Image courtesy of Ikea

Today’s attractive distractions:

Here’s an exhaustive history of how Atari’s beloved Pong came to be.

This room-temperature superconductor has a transformative potential.

Is Ikea’s custom Pax wardrobe its most frustrating product to assemble?

Berlin’s famed Berghain club has changed how some approach music.

All Stories