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Way, way back in time – in the good old days of the early Eighties – Steve McGugan by then a 23-year-old industrial designer travelled to the rough west coast of Denmark to start working for Bang & Olufsen.

He’d attended an art college in California but wanted to come all the way to Denmark to work with us here. Preparing for the trip Steve decided to buy a Sony Walkman – this fantastic new product that allowed you to enjoy music on the go. And, this purchase would actually help shape the longest living headphones on the market.

In 1983, one year after Steve arrived in Denmark, he got the idea that Bang & Olufsen needed a more compact and lightweight headphone. Something that could work with the existing product line-up – but also something that would complement the new Walkman generation. No insult intended – but the headphones on the market at that point in time weren’t known for their focus on design. So it would make sense to do something chic for the young, energetic ones Steve thought.

McGugan started sketching on his ideas and ended up with a few 3D cardboard models. He picked out the one he liked the most – and went to his boss Jens Bang and showed it to him. Bang liked it – but since there was already another, more expensive headphone on the market, Form 1, he rejected the proposal.

Well, the cardboard models were stowed away – and life continued.

And then – one year later Jens Bang came to Steve McGugan’s office: “I remember
that you made a design proposal for a lightweight headphone some time ago, do you still have the model?”

The model was still there – lying in the dust of an old cupboard.

In 1985 Form 2 was introduced to the world – an ultra-light, iconic shaped on-ear headphone with an impressive stereo sound. Now – more than 30 years after Steve McGugan did his first sketches on the product, it is still on the market – as popular as it ever was.

In a time where technology is short-lived – and products are changed every other year the longevity of Form 2 is quite amazing. Here’s a product that has truly proved itself timeless – and with the updates presented today we’re trying to breathe another 30 years into Form 2i – as they’re called now.

And what are the changes?

We’ve added an in-line microphone and 3-button remote – so you can use the headphones to take and make phone calls right from the cord – and we’ve improved the comfort design too, so you can wear Form 2i for extended periods of time.

The word “icon” is used ever so often – but in the case of Form 2 it’s truly deserved. In fact Form 2 was made part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1992 – so you could dub it an art piece!

“I’m truly honoured that Form 2 has been kept alive all these years, that there’s been a constant demand for the product,” said Steve McGugan, when I caught up with him the other day.

“This is absolutely one of my all time best designs – and I’m thankful that people still find Form 2 desirable.”

Fun fact: Did you know that Steve McGugan listened to Grace Jones, The Police and Jean-Michel Jarre when he created Form 2.

 

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