Harman Kardon HARMAN International
Harman Kardon is known for its outstanding design and sound performance. Huemen was asked to design a new Harman Kardon Citation series that would stand out in the market, convey a consistent design story and deliver a seamless user experience to contemporary audio lovers. To make it a success, we needed to transform conventional loudspeaker technology into something unique that would appeal to the design-oriented target audience.
Seeking inspiration, we took a deep dive into Nordic culture. We visited Stockholm, Amsterdam and Copenhagen to conduct design research and collect user insights.
What caught our eye was the visual simplicity of Nordic interiors and furniture pieces, especially the blending of natural materials into contemporary design. We also learned how much local families shared our appreciation for those modern technologies that make life more convenient while providing a seamless experience.
Creativity We imagined Citation as a range of simple yet elegant forms that would easily blend in with the user’s living space, a scalable range of beautiful vases that are unobtrusive and dressed in lifestyle fabrics from top to bottom. The design complements the warm feel of Nordic houses and addresses all the senses through rich materials and an intuitive interface.
Material The use of real wool was a unique choice and was a first for Harman Kardon. Inspired by Danish culture, we worked with fabric developer Kvadrat — a world leader in fabrics for furniture, interiors and art installations — to bring that same material craftsmanship to Citation. The resulting material conveys real warmth and allows for a seamless product integration with modern interiors.
User interface, experience & technology Simple, intuitive and versatile. A user interface featuring an LCD touchscreen embedded in the metal surface with capacitive buttons makes the Citation incredibly easy to use. A proximity sensor wakes the screen when a user approaches. The integrated Google Assistant lets the user easily access recorded presets, control their music, set up the speakers and get instant answers to daily questions — all by using their voice.
Naming The Citation name is a nod to one of Harman Kardon’s early innovations. In 1959, the company introduced the Citation II, the world’s first ultra-wide bandwidth tube amplifier. It was the first product to deliver absolutely uncompromised sound performance and it helped establish Harman Kardon as a leader in high-fidelity audio. There’s a clear thread running from that early leap forward in acoustic design to this innovative active speaker system — powerful acoustics combined with pioneering technology and modern design.
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