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Danish designer Jacob Jensen won an iF product design award for his very first project at Bang & Olufsen, the Beomaster 1000. It would not be his last.
Hannover, Germany, 1966: The German Wirtschaftswunder (economic boom) is in full swing. Employment in Hannover is at a record level. In a cramped orange basement, Mike Gehrke founds The Jazz Club Hannover, which would soon gain a reputation as one of the best jazz clubs in Europe. Meanwhile at the Hannover fairgrounds, the Sonderschau "Die gute Industrieform" is being held for the 13th time. Among the wide range of products displayed, there is one in particular that would become revered by audiophiles and design lovers around the globe: the Beomaster 1000.
It is the first project by the young designer Jacob Jensen for Bang & Olufsen, and simultaneously his first iF award-winning design.
The novelty of high-fidelity sound is reflected in the original archival documents. In the original German award documentation, the Beomaster 1000 is referred to as a Steuergerät : literally, a control unit. In English of course, we would call it a receiver. But in 1957, both the word receiver and its German equivalent Empfänger were obviously still unfamiliar to competition organizers. HiFi was still known as high-fidelity sound reproduction, and was still in its infancy. B&O had already gained a reputation as a leader in the field. The Beomaster 1000 was to mark a new era at B&O: the era of Jacob Jensen. At first glance, the receiver looks like a product of its time, if a particularly elegant one. But god is in the details, as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said. It is the rich use of materials such as rosewood and teak, the solid feel of the control knobs (equipped with a heavy flywheel for the proper weight), and finally, the quality of the sound.
At iF, we would like to think that winning his first iF Design Award for the Beomaster 1000 was a particular highpoint for the young designer Jacob Jensen, considering it came so early in his career.
In truth, we may never know.