A closer look at the Headphone Stand
The Headphone Stand was a winding design journey with more than one dead end along the way. The resulting design is, in many ways, so simple — just two primary components, the steel and the silicone ‘saddle’ — but it took dozens of design iterations before dialing it in.
We talk a lot about home and office organization here, and the idea for a headphone stand has been floated around since the early days of the business. Both customers and friends would regularly write in, struggling to find a suitable ‘dock’ for their cherished headphones. We realized we shared this problem, and an attractive solution was hard to find.
We had just completed development of the Little Cloud Tray, our first molded cork product, and we thought this material and process could be right for the Headphone Stand. We spent about six weeks experimenting with cork and making 3D prints. We even carved a prototype from a large block of cork with a dremel and a saw before concluding we couldn’t achieve the sleek form we wanted in that material. This was the first of many possible directions that didn’t quite lead us to the Headphone Stand we were dreaming of.
We decided to go back to the drawing board and take a more methodical approach. Rather than starting with a material or manufacturing process, we thought about how the product should behave, how it should be interacted with, what kind of a presence it should have.
It should feel like a home for your headphones, like a safe and welcoming harbor for when you don’t need them on your head. It should flatter your headphones, not distract from them. It should show your headphones care and respect. It should behave like an outstretched hand, patiently waiting to hold your headphones. It should be universal enough to accommodate a variety of headband styles and sizes.
Once we deeply understood these goals, we honed in on the form that would actually support the headband — something akin to a re-proportioned horseback riding saddle. We turned to one of my favorite design tools, modeling clay, and spent a couple of hours passing rudimentary clay forms back and forth. Silicone was the logical material for the shape we finally landed on: it could be durable, pliable, and precise. For the base, we went with a single piece of formed stainless steel wire, finished with the ultra-durable matte black PVD coating we use across many of our steel products.
The resulting product fulfilled all the ideals we had laid out, and most importantly, it felt like the Headphone Stand we wanted in our lives.
Learn more about the Headphone Stand here.