University of Illinois at Chicago
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Resonant Design: The Transparent Speaker

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-08-06, 00:00 authored by Nuzhat Binte Arif
I read Jonathan Chapman’s Emotionally Durable Design and was appalled to learn that 80% of objects get thrown out into landfills because people aren’t able to form a strong enough emotional bond with them. Landfills often cannot provide the right environment for microbes to be able to break material down, so landfills keep piling up with things. As a designer, I consider the quandary of consumerism, pollution, and short-term attachment to material goods. Audio speakers are often marketed on their external form. But as I was researching speakers, I became more interested in their internal components: the feat of engineering that creates sound. I wanted to flip the focus in my design by highlighting the internal components and minimizing the speaker shell. I chose to create a simple clear box that is almost like a museum case; it highlights the functional aspects of the speaker as a technological work of art. My hope is to extend the life of the speaker by designing for emotional connection, which in turn leads to longer use and, therefore, improved conservation.


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


Publisher Statement

Industrial Design; Honorable Mention; Copyright 2018, Nuzhat Binte Arif. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at


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