Transparent Sound and Business: People People Walk the Walk

Swedish design firm People People created their Transparent Speaker to take a stand against “throw-away culture.”

The strikingly minimalist metal-and-glass sound system has a modular design that allows all components to be recycled, upgraded, or repaired — extending the life of the product as new features become available and keeping one more electronic device out of the landfill. The team also worked to assure that parts were responsibly sourced and that it was manufactured using fair labor practices.

When People People brought the project to Kickstarter at the end of 2012, this principled design philosophy struck a chord with nearly 500 backers. Equally important was the work that had gone into refining the product itself — making something people would want to keep for many years. Co-founder Martin Willers explains: “We say, ‘First, walk the walk. Then, talk the talk.’ It means we try to make things real before we brag about it. It makes us build loads of prototypes.”

Of course a speaker worth keeping has to sound great too. Willers recalls, “there were revelation-like moments when we heard the sound prototypes for the first time. Apart from goosebumps, it's at these moments we realize, okay, this will be a great product.”

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