Kindred Spirits

Harman Kardon creates more than personal audio systems for your home, they are a trusted partner in developing bespoke sound systems for many of the world’s carmakers.

Harman Kardon creates more than personal audio systems for your home, they are a trusted partner in developing bespoke sound systems for many of the world’s carmakers. The latest to leverage Harman Kardon’s expertise is Polestar and their design forward Polestar 2.

Harman Kardon shares Polestars uncompromising, minimalistic, detail-oriented approach to design and performance. Naturally, their custom Polestar 2 sound system takes immersive in-car audio to the next level.

Right there amongst the beautifully clean and simplistic lines, the recycled plastics and sustainable fibres, is the Harman Kardon audio system that has been developed specifically for the Polestar 2.

Overseeing speaker design was young industrial designer, Jan Geisler, from Harman Kardon’s in house design studio, Huemen Design. Jan worked from the outset with Polestar’s interior team to deliver the most harmonious integration of the Harman brand and products. A project that posed some unique challenges for Jan and the Harman Kardon team.

“Designing an audio system for a car is always challenging, EV or not, it’s about acoustics, it’s about placement, and most importantly, it’s about marrying those two types of design DNA so that you have a happy couple in the end. Polestar 2 is minimalistic, timeless, and precise, not only with the overall interior lines but also the materials. Polestar’s WeaveTech material, for instance, is ahead of its time. That’s why it matches with Harman Kardon so well, because our approach is always to be sophisticated, timeless and precise.”

The Polestar 2 cabin and chassis were designed with acoustic performance in mind, allowing for optimal placement of the 13 Harman Kardon speakers, including their patented subwoofer. The air-ventilated subwoofer, mounted in the rear wheel-housing, instead of in the cabin allows it to pulse more air, enabling extremely low bass tones while minimising noise outside the car.

“It’s pointless to have very expensive speakers, with a lot of power and energy, sitting behind a grille that doesn’t let the sound through. We work with parametric modellers to achieve the most efficient ratio between the open and closed areas of the speaker grille as possible” says Geisler.

As a branded ingredient to the Polestar interior, integration of Harman Kardon’s signature brand and design elements must also be considered. This poses challenges to both teams to ensure seamless integration of the two design aesthetics.

“We only had one space to place our familiar 60° pattern logo, which was the centre speaker. Depending on where you were sitting, you wouldn’t see this as 60°. Together with Polestar’s interior designers, we came up with the idea to straighten this pattern to make it a little more symmetrical. We’ve been very strict about having the 60° pattern, but for Polestar 2 it matched so well in the centre. And then we came to this (door panel) button, which I personally like very much. It’s a very sophisticated and subtle easter egg which you might not see at first glance. I think that was definitely the most challenging part, to bring those two worlds together and to make sure our brand is represented, in a car that doesn’t want to be too flashy. The button is a very nice way to do that.”

"Designing an audio system for a car is always challenging, EV or not, it's about acoustics, it's about placement, and most importantly, it's about marrying those two types of design DNA so that you have a happy couple in the end."

The cohesive design has already received critical acclaim in the world’s foremost product design awards, securing a win at the Industrie Forum Design awards in 2020.

“The interesting thing about that is that it’s not a product by itself, it lives in another product, yet the jury found this noticeable and worthy of an award. Which is also quite cool.” Says Giesler.

The Harman Kardon Premium Sound system developed by Jan and his team uses advanced Dirac tuning software to eliminate the sonic imperfections inherent to car interiors. So everyone on board has the best seat in the house to enjoy a powerful, immersive sound, regardless of where they’re sitting.

Related Articles

Auckland City Mission providing comfort this Christmas

The Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai has been at the forefront of helping shape lives for the better for 100 years.

Read More

Come Back Home

Eight gold and five platinum singes; one double platinum, one triple. Eight New Zealand Music Awards, five ARIA nominations. Actor, burgeoning fashion icon, te reo champion. Survivor. Stan Walker.

Read More

Pouring a Legacy

The idyllic island paradise of Waiheke boasts 100 vineyards, and of those 75 are set within Man O’ War’s sprawling grounds with the first vines planted in 1993. That experience and diversity of vineyards across Waiheke’s eastern point has...

Read More