Based in Amsterdam, Frolic is a sustainability-oriented innovation and design firm certified as a B Corp. “Sustainability is a driving factor in everything we do. From the projects we undertake to the way we run our business, we want to create a positive difference, one design at a time” – the studio says.
An example of their approach is their latest product – or rather the last 4 – One smart speaker, four circular tunes, 4 different smart speakers born with the same goal: to show the full potential of a product that is technological and at the same time sustainable.
The question from which the project originated is: is there a possibility of creating cutting-edge products that do not harm the planet? While innovation and technological development is inevitable, it is clear that the way this industry is produced-from extraction of raw materials to waste disposal in landfills-must be reviewed.
Taking a look at the data, Frolic Studio says that the forecast for smart speaker sales worldwide is more than 400 million units by 2025. With so many devices in production, can we design them to have a more sustainable impact on the world? What would they look like and how would they work?
Frolic studio’s One smart speaker, four circular tunes project envisions a world in which smart speakers are designed for a better future. The results of this challenge are bold and innovative solutions that reshape the way we think about product design. Two models were designed with the concept of repair and maintenance in mind: the first smart speaker is customizable, evolving and adapting to the needs of the listener. The modularity of components and the possibility of do-it-yourself repairs are the key turning points.
The second can be summarized with the phrase: the most sustainable product is the one that is never created. This speaker is made primarily from compression-printed paper fibers, an abundant, inexpensive, and recyclable material that requires little energy during production. At the end of its lifecycle, a red label on the back of the product reveals not only the internal electrical elements, but also instructions that guide the user through the speaker’s disassembly and disposal processes.
The third model is designed for production: a speaker that can be returned and easily remodeled by the manufacturer. At the end of its lifecycle, the materials are remanufactured, creating new products and reducing most of the overall impact.
The latest concept is designed for longevity, thinking about it as an object to be handed down to the next generation. High-quality materials and hardware, and with the art of Kintsugi, the speaker can be repaired and treasured.
One smart speaker, four circular tunes is a project that Frolic studio has masterfully developed: not only are there 4 products with 4 unique concepts, but the team has managed to show a small part of the incredible diversity that sustainability offers in both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the product. Different sustainable strategies resulted in unique designs.