Chinese Lantern-inspired Speaker Takes The HomePod Texture To New Cultural Heights

I’m sure that there’s a non-zero percentage of people who saw the first HomePod and were reminded of the paper lanterns that decorate each house during Chinese festivals. These lanterns use a thin crepe paper, joined at intervals to create a diamond-shaped honeycomb pattern not too different from the one seen on Apple’s HomePod, albeit at a much smaller scale. Designer Shengtao Ma saw this as an opportunity to more deliberately design a speaker that pays a hat-tip to tradition. The Sirocco Speaker is a slim audio unit with a decorative cover that tributes the lanterns seen in Chinese culture. The speaker’s cover folds open and close just like the lantern, attaching around the speaker’s slender stem-shaped design. The result is something that’s sculptural yet functional, with a cover that can be changed on demand, and a tactile knob on the bottom for controlling the speaker’s volume.

Designer: Shengtao Ma

The Sirocco Speaker comes in multiple shapes and sizes, resembling the traditional lantern seen in Chinese and other Asian cultures

Shengtao Ma makes a case that the speaker’s foldable outer structure plays a role in amplifying the sound. The speaker itself is a slim, vertical number, but the different diamond-shaped elements act as acoustic chambers, helping channel and amplify the audio much like cupping your hands around your mouth. Whether this theory works in reality is yet to be determined, but the concept secured an A’ Design Award this year.

“This speaker further conducts and diffuses sound through its unique honeycomb structure design, thereby further enhancing the user’s experience and music quality. This speaker is foldable. The speaker’s shell is stowable and modular, and comes with a variety of shell shapes that can be replaced at any time according to the user’s mood and home environment,” Shengtao says. “The foldable honeycomb structure at the upper end can be assembled and disassembled by rotation, making it easy to replace, store, and clean.”