The history of the Sound Art Lab building
Sound Art Lab is officially opening on August 27, 2021. However the building already has an intricate and interesting history, as we are housed in the former administration building of B&O here in Struer, Denmark.
B&O was founded in 1925 and moved from their start-up premises to a dedicated factory in the outskirts of Struer in 1927. The facilities were gradually expanded over the coming years until counter sabotage during world war ll in January 1945 blew up the whole factory and left B&O with not more than piles of bricks. Construction of a new building on the grounds of the former began quickly, and the new B&O headquarter was ready in 1947.
Bang & Olufsen was founded by the two young engineers Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen. One of their first products was “The Eliminator” a new type of transformer that enabled radios to use network electricity instead of the more unstable anode batteries. They developed a corporate culture around the concept of “ubiquitous creativity” understood as “a never failing will to always seek new ways, to always strive for the best and to always make improvements”.
The red brick building that was B&O Headquarter from 1947 to 1998 among other things housed an "Idea Land" on the top floor. A closed department, where new concepts and design ideas was developed. Only trusted employees were allowed in here.
Bang & Olufsen has become a global company, but still have their head quarter in Struer. Today the central facility is the Innovation Lab, where direction, administration, designers and technicians are all placed in the same 1-storey former factory building – just 200 m. from the former administration building, now transforming into Sound Art Lab.
Source: Jens Bang: Bang & Olufsen. From Vision to Legend. Vidsyn 2000
The B&O administration building that today houses Sound Art Lab. The building was built after the original building was bombed in counter-sabotage in 1945. The new building was inaugurated in 1947, and was built so that it could also be used as a school if B&O one day moved out. To the left with the jagged roof is the factory building that has now become Sound Hub Denmark.
Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen - late 1920s. A rare picture as they rarely worked together. It was Peter Bang who took care of the factory in Struer, while Svend was mainly in Copenhagen. They were both trained engineers at Aarhus Electrical Engineering. In the company, Peter Bang became more of the inventor, and Svend was mainly responsible for the financial part.
The cinema hall in the administration building was 2 floors tall. Here was a department og B&O called BOFA. BOFA among other things made movie projectors for cinemas. It is this area of the building that is now in the process of becoming sound studios.
The cinema hall was also used daily as a dining hall for the many employees.
Aerial photo of the main building and factory on the left when it was completed after the war.