Carl Pei’s audio startup Nothing will unveil its first products over the coming months, and the brand has positioned design as a key differentiator. Now we have a better understanding of the direction Nothing intends to take in the audio category; the brand has announced Swedish audio brand teenage engineering as a founding partner.
Teenage engineering was established back in 2005, and the Swedish brand rolled out its first synthesizer, the OP-1, in 2011. The synthesizer stood out for its unique design and feature-set and gained momentum with musicians (Swedish House Mafia and OK Go used it extensively). Teenage engineering followed the OP-1 with the OP-Z in 2018, another synth with a standout design and intriguing feature-set.
The company also makes affordable synths in the Pocket Operator series, and it has dabbled in wireless audio with the OD-11, a 100-watt wireless speaker with minimalist design. Then came the OB-4, a portable Bluetooth speaker with built-in FM radio and analog controls. Teenage engineering also collaborated with Panic over the upcoming Playdate handheld console.
Teenage engineering’s products stand out for their design, and it’s clear that Nothing is looking to leverage this unique design aesthetic for its products. Teenage engineering’s co-founder and CEO Jesper Kouthoofd will serve as the Creative Lead and the “visionary” behind Nothing’s design world, and the company’s head of design will oversee design at Nothing as well. From Kouthoofd:
When Carl first told me about Nothing’s vision I remember being super excited thinking about how this would be translated into the design identity of the products.
After months of research and development, we are now in a place where I believe we will have something exciting to show to the world.
From Carl Pei:
I’m really excited to welcome teenage engineering to the growing Nothing family. They consist of some of the best designers and creatives that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Together, we’ve created a product roadmap that’s unique and true to Nothing’s vision
As a long-time fan of teenage engineering products, I’m excited to see what Nothing’s first products will look like. The brand is slated to introduce wireless headphones in the summer, and it is possible they’ll share the same minimal aesthetic as other teenage engineering products.