Reviving History: Rene Sundahl's Upcycled WWII Jerry Can Speaker

Combining History, Sustainability, and High-Quality Sound in a Unique Design

Rene Sundahl's Danish Fuel project breathes new life into World War II Jerry cans, transforming them into high-quality portable speakers. This innovative design marries history, sustainability, and technology in a unique and stylish way.

The inspiration for this project comes from the Jerry can's rich history. Originally designed in 1937 to contain supplies for armies, the Jerry can was a crucial component of the war effort. The allies duplicated the design, and by D-day in 1944, over 21 million Jerry cans had been produced. As President Roosevelt once stated, "Without these cans, it would have been impossible for our armies to cut their way across France at a lightning pace during the German blitz".

Sundahl's design aims to address a common issue in interior design: the clash between aesthetics and functionality. Many speakers either look good but produce poor sound or vice versa. Sundahl's goal was to create a speaker that is both visually stunning and capable of producing high-quality sound. The result is a portable speaker housed in an upcycled World War II fuel can, personalized with a unique ID number and made entirely in Denmark.

The speaker is crafted from an upcycled metal Jerry can, its old rust and paint removed by furnace and sandblasting. The can is then powder-coated in a satin Isapis green. The speaker features a molded plywood interior with 10 layers of 1mm veneer and a top layer in Smoked Oak. The control plate, feet, marking plate, and ID plate are all made from anodized aluminium.

The speaker's technical specifications are impressive. It features a Ciare 6.5” midrange neo woofer and a 1” neo tweeter, powered by a 160w Class D amplifier. It has an equalizer backend, DSP, and front equalizer for bass and treble. The speaker connects via Bluetooth 5.3 or aux and is powered by a 160watt battery with 72 hours of playing time. It is limited to 95 db and measures 48cm in height, 35cm in width, and 17cm in depth, weighing 7.2kg.

The speaker was designed and produced between September 2021 and December 2022 in Denmark, Jutland. It was revealed at Salone Int. Del Mobile in 2014. The design process involved extensive research and faced several challenges, particularly in achieving good sound in an old metal Jerry can. The team had to experiment with various materials and testing to find the right acoustic sound. Sourcing and designing the parts to make the speaker practical and visually appealing was another challenge. The final product is a testament to Sundahl's commitment to sustainability, craftsmanship, and innovation.

The Danish Fuel project has been recognized for its unique design and high-quality sound, winning the Silver A' Limited Edition and Custom Design Award in 2023. This award is given to top-of-the-line, creative, and professionally remarkable designs that demonstrate outstanding expertise and innovation. Sundahl's design certainly fits this description, offering a sustainable, high-quality speaker that is also a piece of history and a work of art.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Rene Sundahl
Image Credits: Image #1, Illustrator Alexander IE, 2022 Optional image #2, Illustrator Alexander IE, 2022 Optional image #3, Illustrator Alexander IE, 2022 Optional image #4, Illustrator Alexander IE, 2022 Optional image #2, Illustrator Alexander IE, 2022 Video credits: Waqas Naveed
Project Team Members: Rene Sundahl
Project Name: Danish Fuel
Project Client: Rene Sundahl

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