For more than 20 years, a team of artists, designers, engineers, and craftsmen at Leon Speakers have been meticulously handcrafting a full palette of custom speakers and technology treatments for both residential and commercial spaces. The Ann Arbor, MI-based manufacturer of high-end custom audio products is now doubling down on its vision of mixing art with audio and design with technology through an expanded partnership with Sonos and relationships with well-known artists.
Among the new products are a collection of Sound Sculptures that were developed after the company’s Lena Sound Sculpture won a prestigious BORN Award this past Spring in the Home category. This new Sound Sculpture line incorporates the new Sonos Amp, Leon’s Ultima speakers, and backlighting in a production-ready unit that will be available with a variety of standard sizes, designs, and pricing. “As a Lifestyle Partner for Sonos, we integrate style with their amazing technology and products,” said Noah Kaplan, Leon’s president and founder.
Although Sonos knows that its Amp may end up stacked out of sight inside an equipment rack, they also wanted to explore more ways to bring it to the foreground, Kaplan noted.
“We presented a lot of conceptual designs, but they gravitated toward our Sound Sculpture concept,” Kaplan said. “However, the original design for our Sound Sculpture and our Aura Tile products were not plug and play—an amplifier had to be remotely located.”
In streamlining these products, Leon went back to its Tone Case line, which remains a huge success for Sonos. “People really seem to like adding style to their Sonos speakers, and Sonos has become synonymous with how people like to listen to music wirelessly,” Kaplan recalled. “I wanted to make the same Tone Case system for the Amp but to really elevate the concept. I think of the new Sound Sculpture as the grandest of Tone Cases.”
Leon’s new design makes the Sound Sculpture a repeatable, plug-and-play product that’s easy for the consumer to buy and easy for the dealer or end user to install. The Sound Sculpture now consists of two Aura Tile framework pieces housing the two Leon Ultima speakers, a single Amp, and a lighting kit, all covered by magnetically removable sculptural, wooden grille.
Leon’s Aura Tile is now also powered by a Sonos Amp, serving as an entry-level or “shadowbox” to hold technology. Each Tile features limited-edition artwork on the outside and a frame on the inside that houses a Sonos Amp, the speakers, lighting, and optional
“I wanted it to be your new stereo. The Aura has become a modern boombox, but because I come from the art world, I wanted to play on the idea of scarcity, customization, and style,” Kaplan said. “You’ll be able to change out the artwork on your Aura Tiles. Now all you need is one plug and two screws to hang it on the wall. The plug has a braided cord, so if you wanted to [leave it exposed], it still looks cool. Three well-known artists have been commissioned to do limited edition artwork for the Aura Tiles.
“I wanted the framework technology behind both of these products to last a long time, but to be iterative,” Kaplan said. “The frame and the speakers are the things that will never die. But I wanted the art and the technology to be completely interchangeable. If Sonos develops a new piece in five years, you can pop out the old one and put it in the framework.”