The Sole Speaker, a collaboration between Axel Arigato and Transparent.
Sole-mates: Max Svärdh on how Axel Arigato and Transparent created a unique speaker from upcycled sneakers
Q: How did this unique partnership with Transparent come about?
MS: Axel Arigato has long-championed music, design and the intersect between innovation & sustainability. Likewise, Transparent Speakers have consistently shared these core pillars, facilitating technology within circular products that allow music the opportunity to shine. These joint interests and a happenstance meeting at our showroom in Paris led to ongoing conversations since March 2023, leading to the creation of the Sole Speaker that celebrates our mutual ambitions.
Q: Tell us about the collaborative design process between Axel Arigato and Transparent
MS: Axel Arigato was able to provide Transparent Speakers with 600 kilos of rejected footwear soles from our valued manufacturing partner, Combocal. Transparent then ground down and pressed them into boxes to create the speaker shell. The electronic components are added to create the final speaker.
Q: The speaker uses re-purposed rubber sneaker soles...?
MS: We wanted to collaborate with Transparent Speakers to offer a brand-new product – and the first ever to be made from footwear soles. Utilising white rubber sole units allowed us to inject a sense of Scandinavian minimalism that lets us stay true to our design roots. The journey shows the positive and stylish impact that upcycling can have. Additionally, we worked on these co-branded elements such as the accompanying gloves, rear plate logos and across our packaging. What sparked the desire to create a speaker out of footwear soles?
We explored innovative ways to utilise rejected sole waste material without jeopardising product excellence. As a fashion brand, we are conscious of our responsibility and are open to all cross-collaborative and inter-disciplinary conversations that facilitate more sustainable solutions. We wanted to showcase the incredible advances that have happened in the upcycling space, and create something truly exciting from what would have otherwise been manufacturing waste.
Q: Tell us about the listening experience on the speaker. How should it be enjoyed?
MS: Transparent Speakers provide an unparalleled sound quality. The speaker offers crystal-clear sound with a solid bass and a warm hi-fi sound. The technology invested creates a studio-level quality experience that speaks to Axel Arigato’s wider belief of unique music experiences.
Q: How and why do you think brands can be more creative in terms of designing more circular products?
MS: Firsts are only possible when brands are prepared to experiment and implement other industry areas of expertise. Designing items with sustainability and innovation in mind allows us to get creative with how we view materials and products. It sparks a whole new way of working, which we consider to be necessary and really exciting. Transparent Speakers’ understanding of circular manufacturing and modular electrical components means that the Sole Speaker can be taken apart, repaired, or upgraded - alongside the rubber shell – extending the life of the product for the next generation of music lovers.