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Philippe Starck Zikmu Parrot Speakers: Sleek. Tall. Modern. Wireless. Ridiculously Expensive.

by Paul Strauss
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Designer Philippe Starck is known for creating goods with style, panache and a clean modern sensibility. Now the iconic designer has put his stamp on a home sound system designed specifically for iPod, iPhone and other digital audio sources .

zikmu_2

Created in collaboration with audio manufacturer Parrot, the oddly-named Zikmu (bless you!) speaker system features a pair of 2.5-foot tall black columns each reminiscent of the business-end of a trumpet. As a matter of fact, Starck ships the system in a recyclable package that’s designed to look like a certain brass musical instrument’s carrying case.

zikmu_trombone_case

The Zikmu system offers not only iPod and iPhone docking, but can stream music from any PC or Mac over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth A2DP wireless technology too. The whole system can be operated by an included RF wireless remote, so line of sight isn’t required for operation.

parrot_zikmu_remote

Sound is pumped out using flat membrane NXT speaker elements, and are designed to radiate out a 360-degree sound field regardless of where you place the speakers in the room. While this is something you might want for listening to music, I don’t know if you’ll want to play The Dark Knight through these if you want to preserve the originally-intended sound imaging. The class-D amplifier is rated at 100W RMS, and the speakers can output frequencies from 50Hz up to 20kHz. So while the highs and mids should sing, don’t expect a really deep bass boom.

parrot_starck_zikmu_speakers

That said, a traditional sound profile wasn’t Starck’s intent. “We were not aiming to create just another speaker,” says Starck. “Our design focused more on making the air vibrate. There is actually a three-dimensional feel to this vibration, meaning that the air is palpable, almost humanlike in presence, like a fragrance.” Of course some perfumes are best left on the shelf. You hear me Drakkar Noir?

parrot_starck

Priced at $1600 (USD) for the set, the Zikmu system definitely isn’t for those on a tight budget. The design sensibility and audio aspirations strike me as something that would look great in a high-end boutique hotel room more than the average living room. The Zikmu is available for pre-order now over at both Parrot and The Conran Shop, and should start shipping later this month.

For more on Philippe’s outspoken design sensibilities, here’s a brief clip of the designer shot by Fast Company during the Zikmu press roll-out:

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