For Ashcraft Design, the form of the company’s newest set of audio headphones—winner of a Concept-Fall-Winter Spark Award, and featured on Yanko Design—was a no-brainer. First, noted design guru Dan Ashcraft, they had to broadcast an awareness that music is an integral part of most people’s lives, especially children. Not audibly, of course, but subliminally, through the use of environmentally responsible, sustainable materials like the reused acoustical wood headband (from guitars of famous music makers) to the earpieces made from recycled aluminum and buffed to a satin finish.
Who knew so much could be said by so little? But even the quilted leather surrounding the earpieces is taken from bags, jackets and other articles once owned by famous musicians. Still, it’s the sound that counts, and the Aria’s sound is actuated by 40 millimeter titanium-plated drivers tuned to generate precise pitch. More important, Ashcraft kept the design simple, hoping that “the instant the consumer touches the reclaimed acoustic guitar wood headband he/she will feel a connection to their music and the musician.”
At first Ashcraft wanted nothing more than a handful of Arias, because there wasn’t that much in the way of musician castoffs in either the guitar or clothing category. These headphones would be sold at auction, with the proceeds going to charities involved in youth music education, like the Youth Music Education Foundation, or YMEF, created by five University of Minnesota students in the autumn of 2010.
The limited production phase would be followed by a complete production cycle, churning out a significant number of headsets, all of them made from sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled aluminum and plastic, if not from actual materials once owned and used by magicians. Here again, though, the proceeds will go to youth music charity.