Braun celebrates its 100th birthday in 2021, and for the occasion, the German company has teamed up with Virgil Abloh for a shiny update of one of its most iconic pieces.

The anniversary celebrations include a design refresh of Braun’s Wandanlage hi-fi audio wall unit from 1965, which Abloh reinterpreted into a ‘functional art’ piece, and a short film shot at Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, in Illinois, where the designer discusses his inspiration and references. ‘I have always had a deep appreciation for Braun design,’ says Abloh. ‘For the brand’s 100 years, I jumped at the opportunity to reimagine this iconic Braun product and challenge what we have come to expect from design.’ 

Braun Virgil Abloh collaboration

His piece for Braun features a polished chrome surface, a nod to both the German brand’s functional aesthetic and Abloh’s own cultural references. ‘Chrome has a long history within the Black canon of aesthetics, whether that’s platinum chains or gold teeth, there’s that shine that heightens importance,’ says the designer. The material also references Abloh’s musical universe, from the brass and silver instruments of Mamie Smith’s 1920s blues band to the bespoke polished slabs on the cars made popular by the hip-hop stars of the 1980s.

To complete the celebrations, Abloh has also curated a musical remix in collaboration with Houston sound designers The Chopstars. Titled ‘Internationalism’, the track is available from SoundCloud, and offers an opportunity to delve into Abloh’s aural inspirations. The selected music, the designer explains, embodies an approach that is about ‘eclectic, genre-less, longevity, connection, using sound to paint pictures; to me, this track exemplifies the Braun ethos of good design – it’s timeless and meant to be appreciated and enjoyed over time’. 

Braun Virgil Abloh collaboration

Braun and Virgil Abloh had recently collaborated on the classic BC02 alarm clock, which the designer recreated in new bold shades and distinctive motifs from his Off-White collections. This new initiative strengthens the bond between the most iconic of modernist design brands and one of today’s most brilliant creative minds.

‘The final result that we’ve developed in partnership with the Braun team is deep within the ethos of Braun, to build things to last, to truly be timeless, while allowing new stories to be told,’ continues Abloh. ‘We all make stuff. The goal is to make it with purpose.’

Watch: Virgil Abloh explains the reimagined Wandanlage hi-fi by Braun