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What's New

Embracing Newstalgia

By Dave Tovissi
Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Luxury Audio

David Glaubke

As we continue our aggressive growth, we are paying attention to the latest trends in interior design and fashion as well. For today’s luxury consumer, we cannot simply engineer our products to accurately reproduce the voices, instruments and acoustics of the venue the songs were recorded in, we must also design our products to appeal to our customer’s lifestyle and living spaces.

Predicting the trends of tomorrow takes a commitment to meet and speak with design professionals and luxury consumers. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Huemen, a wholly owned design and research organization of HARMAN, to guide us in our Industrial Designs and User Interfaces. Their research has focused our product development to be more appealing to an ever-growing demographic of luxury consumers.

Luxumers, as we like to call them, are made up of consumers of all ages, genders and ethnicities. They are willing to spend more money on products and services that enhance their lifestyle in meaningful ways. They desire convenience in their lives. They take time to research products. They want to know more about where the product is being manufactured and whether the components and packaging are produced and consumed in a sustainable manner.

Luxumers are also influenced by fashion. One fashion trend that we are paying close attention to is Newstalgia.

What Is Newstalgia?

“Newstalgia is the trend of balancing new home decor staples with vintage items that have a bit of patina to them - worn edges or burnished spots that imbue the piece with a little bit of soul,” says Deanna Jacoby, senior designer at L.A.-based design firm Jenn Feldman Designs. Jacoby specializes in bespoke interiors and works to tell a story within each space she designs. And when it comes to vintage items, a story seems to come along with just about every piece. She believes Newstalgia is such a force in the design industry due to what these character-rich pieces can bring to a space. “It’s hard to pull off a well-rounded space without a vintage element (or two!),” she says.

“Vintage items render feelings of home, of warmth, of stability and tradition,” says Jacoby. Coming home to a space full of sentimental pieces with storytelling appeal isn’t just a bonus of a well-designed space, it’s a focus. Newstalgia items have a soul to them and in a world where trends shift overnight and creativity is delivered in surface-level, bite-sized doses at every turn, vintage items feel grounded and timeless,” says Jacoby. The key to Newstalgia is not only spotlighting amazing vintage and antique pieces but marrying them with new pieces as well. “Aesthetically, vintage items that have patina and imperfections really pop against a fresh white wall or clean oak shelves,” Finding items that speak to you and that you love are central to pulling off Newstalgia’s focus of blending old and new.

Is Newstalgia a passing fad or can companies like HARMAN invest in this design trend for continual growth? Jacoby assures this isn’t just a passing trend. “The vintage elements we are drawn to always have an element of timelessness to them,” she says. “Think about what catches your eye on a trip to Italy, or Mexico, or any number of destinations with art and architecture hundreds of years old: materials that are built to last, artisanal techniques, and excellent craftmanship.”

With Luxumers and Newstalgia in mind, HARMAN Luxury Audio recently debuted the expansion of our JBL Classic line of loudspeakers and electronics. These products appeal to consumers by their timeless design, un-matched convenience, and of course superior audio quality.

Last week we introduced seven new JBL Classics to our distributors, dealers, press and to consumers. These products are not simply iterations of what already exists in the market; they are truly new and unique. Take, for instance, the MP 350 Classic streaming media player that embodies the latest technology while maintaining a retro aesthetic reminiscent of the 1970s. It’s an excellent example of how we adapt to changing consumption habits that includes design trends towards Newstalgia while honoring our heritage. Other additions to the Classic line include the SA550 integrated amplifier, the CD350 compact disc player, and the stunningly beautiful TT350 direct drive turntable.

We also launched the next generation of the L100 and L82 Classic that boast performance upgrades in driver technology, crossover designs and better binding posts to allow for bi-wiring. Besides these next-gen loudspeakers, we also introduced the L10cs Classic Subwoofer which is a great companion piece for the L82 and L52 Classics, and of course, the L75ms all-in-one music system.

We understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve and constantly adapting to ever-changing market trends. Continuing the movement of pairing old with the new, incorporating the latest and greatest tech with an eye towards décor that will bring our distributors new customers while retaining those who have already built allegiance and loyalty to our brands.

The pandemic has undoubtedly played a role in the skyrocketing sales of luxury audio, but we believe our focus on Luxumers will maintain our growth. Looking ahead, we are committed to continuing to provide our customers with the highest quality audio products, award-winning industrial designs, and an exceptional customer user-experience.