A few years ago, London-based designer Paul Cocksedge started collecting old speakers he found on the street because he liked the way they looked. After a while, he had amassed quite a few in the corner of his studio when he began to wonder, "Why are people throwing these beautifully designed, functional objects away? It was kind of breaking my heart."
Inspired by advances in Bluetooth and wireless technology, Cocksedge created the Vamp, a tiny cube with a shorn corner equipped with a battery, amplifier, and Bluetooth, that when connected to a traditional (read: old and disused) speaker, transforms it into a portable one, giving it new life. Three years and more than 10,000 units sold worldwide later, Cocksedge and his team at Paul Cocksedge Studio have launched a new Kickstarter campaign for phase two: The Vamp Stereo and Vamp Speaker.
The Vamp Stereo expands on the functionalities of the Vamp by making it stereo, which means it can be hooked up to two speakers, producing double the sound, and, presumably, the experience—but not the waste. "We've managed to keep it all at the same size as the original, which is really exciting," said Cocksedge, "because we didn't need it from a design perspective, and secondly, that would have gone against this idea of trying to save energy."
Feedback from the first round showed that while users loved the idea of the Vamp, not everyone had old speakers lying around. Nor did they want to go out and buy a slick new one. "Initially it felt like a contradiction to design our own speaker," Cocksedge explained. "However, when we discovered that we could actually use all recycled materials, it suddenly opened up that possibility."
The result is the Vamp Speaker, whose box is made from sustainable OSB board and electrical components from recycled materials. It can also be connected to two additional speakers via connectors in the back, allowing for different sound configurations, stereo separation, and even surprising aesthetic (and otherwise) pairings.
"We're really happy to combine brands. We can't wait to see the Vamp with two different speakers from two different companies. We love that collage of color and materials, that collage of eras. We love connecting all these time zones together, which doesn’t really align with how other bigger companies and more established brands want to think about stuff. They don't necessarily want you to transform something from someone else."
Cocksedge hopes that the Vamp family of speakers will inspire people to think about electronic waste and where our products come from. "What we're doing is not the most complicated thing in the world. It's actually incredibly simple. But we’d like for people to look at these combinations of old and new and maybe have a few conversations about recycling and reusing. And I think music is the perfect tool to do that."