Technology – Audio
Sculptures of Sound
Sonus faber brings an inimitable Italian style to the art of speaker design
BY GEORGE MCCLURE
FROM ARMANI TO GUCCI, ALFA ROMEO TO FERRARI — and countless more — there’s something about Italian design that defines the elements of style. Luxury speaker manufacturer Sonus faber is a prime example.
The name Sonus faber is derived from Latin and means handcrafted sound, an apt description of products which combine old-world craftsmanship with advanced technologies for some of the most musical designs available. This merger of form and function results in a startling performance from elegant enclosures that are works of art in their own right — objects of beauty that will bring lasting enjoyment for years to come.
from Vicenza with love
“Sonus faber was born to satisfy an urgent, expressive need of our founder, Franco Serblin,” says Livio Cucuzza, Chief Design Officer. “This impulse, halfway between art and design, created a turning point in the history of hi-fi. It’s difficult to capture this harmony in words, so as designers we seek to convey these distinct qualities that make up our products through the design structure of the products themselves.”
The company launched in 1983 at a small laboratory in Monteviale, in the hills of the Italian province of Vicenza. Founder Franco Serblin grew up listening to classical music, and his father was a master carpenter. These influences were apparent in his designs from the beginning, but in 1993 they became even more pronounced when Sonus faber created the extraordinary Guarneri Homage, the first speaker with a cabinet inspired by the lute shape. This was a revolutionary idea — to build high-performance speakers as if they were fine musical instruments. Over the next decade the Homage collection grew to include iconic models such as the Amati, il Serafino, Stradivari, all of which were inspired by the great masters of Italian violin making.
In 2003, Sonus faber headquarters moved about eight and a half miles down the road to Arcugnano. Built in the shape of a violin, this striking new facility was designed as “a place for music” by the famous Studio Albanese.
All along, Sonus faber has continued to push the boundaries of performance with new statement pieces and re-imagined versions of classic models. All models represent a perfect blend of traditional craftsmanship and advanced research, aimed at the satisfaction of listening and service to the purity of the sound.
Says Chief Design Officer Livio Cucuzza, “Sonus faber was conceived by a man who loves music and its correct reproduction, and also has a special sensibility about handcrafted wood products and a true reverence for beauty. Sonus faber is not only a loudspeaker manufacturer; it is, first and foremost, a unique way to approach a musical product’s design.”
Sonus faber celebrated its 35th anniversary last year and this occasion gave the company the opportunity to re-think its brand values and true DNA. Toward this end, they came up with the following manifesto:
Our handmade musical instruments are true to Italian expertise. We invest them with an unforgettable voice that immerses you in a natural sound experience.
We are creative technicians, inventors of cutting-edge design solutions. Every single detail is so carefully planned that our products become everlasting works of art.
Sonus faber brand tells a story. By means of sound and materials of Sonus faber creations we transmit our values and communicate our beliefs.
Each Sonus faber product, be it past, present or future is able to take the listener into a world of long-lasting tradition, Italian culture and craftsmanship.
In service of the principles enumerated above, over the past two years the design team put all its efforts toward strengthening the core values of Sonus faber; here are some of the tangible results…
Aida: Renewing a Classic
Aida (shown in top photo and above on the right) takes its name from the famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi and is the pinnacle of the Sonus faber catalogue. Combining tradition with technological innovation, sophistication and power, it retains the external design elements that made it so recognizable, but has now been completely overhauled internally with the most advanced electroacoustic developments.
Electa Amator III: The Heritage Continues
Sonus faber is a company that constantly evolves while still drawing inspiration from the past. Case in point: the Electa Amator III (shown above left). A gem of Italian expertise and craftsmanship, it’s a compact but mighty speaker that inherits the characteristics of Electa Amator (1987) and Electa Amator II (1997), two models that contributed most to the international success of the brand.
The Sonetto Collection: Affordable Elegance
“Sonetto is what I like to call a ‘democratic’ range of loudspeaker systems,” says Paolo Tezzon, Sonus faber R&D Manager, “because it is about aiming to the highest quality in music reproduction within a cost-conscious package.” Designed, developed and manufactured at Sonus faber headquarters in Vicenza, the collection features eight models, including three floorstanding loudspeakers, two bookshelf and two center channel models, and a versatile on-wall speaker.