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GamFratesi's founders Stine and Enrico

Copenhagen becoming "second biggest destination for design" says Enrico Fratesi

Design studio GamFratesi spoke to Dezeen about how festival 3 Days of Design is growing since it launched a decade ago, as it unveiled a speaker for Bang & Olufsen.

GamFratesi revealed its design for the portable Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 speaker at the Conversations in Sound exhibition at annual design festival 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It marks the first time that the studio, which is led by Danish designer Stine Gam and Italian designer Enrico Fratesi, created a technological design, and they wanted to bring the studio's signature materiality to the project.

GamFratesi speaker at 3 Days of Design
The Beosound A5 speaker has an oak cover

"It was important to take the approach that just because it's tech, it doesn't have to be that much tech," Gam told Dezeen.

"It's still something that plays in your home and you can easily make it warm and friendly, even though it's an incredible level of tech inside of it," she added.

"We wanted to create something that you really want to have in your home that expresses some kind of nature."

Raffia speaker by GamFratesi
It also comes clad in paper raffia

Designed to be attractive even when it's not in use, the speaker comes in two different versions – one clad in paper raffia, the other in oak lamellas.

The oak cover was informed by Scandinavian architects such as Finn Juhl and Arne Jacobsen and the use of lamellas in their designs.

Bang & Olufsen venue at 3 Days of Design
The speakers were showcased in a room covered in paper raffia

The raffia cover, meanwhile, draws on the straw Borsalino hats worn in Capri, Italy, among other influences – a reference that GamFratesi thought of as the speaker is water and dustproof and so can be taken to the beach.

Designed to be modular, the covers for the Beosound A5 speakers can also be swapped around and GamFratesi said it is in discussions about creating even more versions in the future.

Table by GamFratesi at 3 Days of Design
A table showed the different prototypes for the design

At 3 Days of Design, the speakers were on show at an art gallery in central Copenhagen, surrounded by walls enveloped in paper raffia. Solid oak tables designed by GamFratesi provided seating, and visitors could play vinyl records via the speakers.

Working with paper raffia was challenging for technology products, according to the designers.

"Now that we see this paper on the wall, imagining that going on a speaker seems very simple," Gam said. "But there are a lot of challenges because the sound has to get through."

"When you work with natural materials, in the end, it looks so friendly and so simple but it's actually alive – and it has to be an extremely safe product," she added.

"It was a challenge, so I'm so happy that we actually managed to take it to the final level."

Conversations in Sound at 3 Days of Design
Conversations in Sound took place during 3 Days of Design

Conversations in Sound is one of many exhibitions on show as part of 3 Days of Design, which GamFratesi has been involved with since it began in 2014.

The studio created the posters for the event for its first three editions and says that since then, the event has become an important part of the international design calendar.

Conversations in Sound exhibition
GamFratesi made solid oak tables for the exhibition

"We started this adventure and after 10 years, it's becoming probably, after Milan, the second biggest destination for design," Fratesi told Dezeen.

"We have clients and press coming from the US, coming from the Far East; everybody that we met in Milan is basically travelling again to be in Copenhagen," he added.

"It's now not only the Danish brands, I can also see many Italian brands are participating. So it means that this is a very positive fair for many, many people."

Details from Conversations in Sound
Visitors could play music from a vinyl player through the speakers

According to Fratesi, the popularity of the fair is tied to an increasing interest in Scandinavian design.

"Scandinavian design and Scandinavian culture have been really booming in the latest years in terms of aesthetic, philosophy and also in terms of design," he said.

"Even some of the brands that are not Scandinavian have been very inspired by the Scandinavian aesthetic," Fratesi added.

"I think it was a formula that works because it brings a lot of simplicity, it's honest, it brings material into the project and this is a very important topic nowadays."

3 Days of Design is showcasing a wide range of designers and brands across Copenhagen. Among other projects in the city are an exhibition that looks at wood's significance as a commodity and a recently reproduced lamp by Le Corbusier informed by his Cabanon cabin.

The photography is courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

3 Days of Design takes place from 7 June to 9 June 2023. Follow the live coverage on Dezeen live: 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen. See Dezeen Events Guide for information about the event, plus a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.