Norra Norr, a Stockholm-based industrial design consultancy, is the design and development team behind the much anticipated Scandinavian headphone brand Urbanears, which will hit stores around the world on December 1st.
Remaining faithful to their Scandinavian design heritage, Norra Norr has created a minimalist unisex design in three models: Medis, Tanto and Plattan. Medis is an in-ear headphone, Tanto is a small over-ear headphone, and Plattan is a medium-sized on-ear headphone.
The Urbanears headphones are akin to the basic t-shirt, with a rich palette of colors and consistent shape. "By avoiding graphics and keeping the styling to a minimum, we feel we have made something quite timeless. With Urbanears, our goal has been to create the industrial design equivalent of your favorite plain colored t-shirt, generic but with a better tailoring than everything else out there," says Erik Petersen, designer and co-founder of Norra Norr.
With the goal of moving headphones away from electronics and into the fashion and lifestyle segment, Norra Norr has focused on function, quality, details and materials to create a cohesive family of products that appeal to a variety users.
The Urbanears headphones are made of colored steel with aluminum detailing and handmade drivers. They are treated with a rubber coating that gives the headphone a matte look and a smooth feel. The headbands and cables are textile rather than plastic, making the products look and feel more like a garment and less like a mechanical product.
Design innovations include the Zound plug for Plattan, allowing multiple users to plug in and share music at the same time. Another example is the patented EarClick technology used in the design of Medis, creating a hybrid between an in-ear and a headphone. The inner piece features an interchangeable earpad at the top for a comfortable fit that doesn't fall out when the user is moving.
"This design really sums up the concept of fashion headphones. With Medis, for example, our patented technology features a chord with aluminum detailing that resembles a stitch in reference to the tailored look of fashion," says Marcus Rudback, Norra Norr creative director and co-founder.