WHAT: ULTIMATE TRAVELLING TRUNK FOR AUDIOPHILES
WHO: Ramesh Nair
Creative director of Moynat
Luxury trunkmaker Moynat was founded in 1849, and creative director Ramesh Nair is all about uncompromising quality. Nair previously worked with Hermès,Christian Lacroixand Yohji Yamamoto before being handpicked by LVMH boss Bernard Arnault to revamp Moynat.
Ramesh Nair has worked with some of the world's best artisans throughout his career. Now at the helm of Moynat - a heritage trunk maker since 1849 - Nair has access to the traditional know-how of timeless luxury.
Nair, a music lover himself, has envisioned a bespoke travelling trunk for audiophiles to enjoy music on the road.
"My audiophile trunk is not just a portable music room," he says, "but also a very complex mix of high-end, audiophile-quality equipment that can create pure sound [regardless of] the genre of music."
The device is made using traditional trunk-making techniques, with a wooden cask sheathed in natural, vegetal-tanned box calf leather treated with hi-tech silicone coating for water-proof effect.
The inside of the box is lined with suede to protect the equipment and also enhance the sound by absorbing echoes.
"The speakers can be separated and placed apart for maximum sound stage," Nair says. "A choice of amplifiers and sources is available for different genres of music, from valve-driven amplifiers to solid-state amplifiers."
Artisans and acoustic engineers are brought together to consult on the trunk design to ensure its construction precision and acoustic excellence. "Many of the electronics [items] need to be isolated. Heat sinks and ventilation systems are integrated into the body of the trunk," Nair explains.
"All the cables pass inside the chassis as well, so every part of the structure will have to be thought out around particular pieces of equipment."
Technical input is provided by audio engineers from Abbey Road Studios of London - one of the world's most prestigious recording studios. The trunk houses [the most] high-end audio equipment money can buy, Nair says.
"Most of the equipment will be constructed to fit into the enclosure and will play a very specific role - [to provide] the best sound possible wherever the owner travels and whatever the surroundings are," he adds.
Made-to-measure amplifiers and pre-amplifiers from Dan D'Agostino, UltraSound, Nagra and Shindo Lab are incorporated, and high-definition players from the likes of Audio Research, dCS Vivaldi Transport and Burmester. Hybrid speakers, handmade Living Voice Vox Olympian speakers, and some components made especially for the project by ATC Labs, are included.
Special audio connectors and cables from Siltech and Nordost, with gold terminals for superb conductivity, are featured while components such as dampeners and shock-absorbing isolation equipment are sourced from Coherent Systems and Townshend Audio.
The trunk also comes with a custom-reworked, vintage Le Corbusier lounge chair which can be folded to fit inside the trunk. Remote controllers are fitted on to the armrests of the chair.
"This will allow me to lay back and immerse in the sound of music," Nair says.
"With this dream, custom-made audiophile trunk, I can immerse myself in music and be transported ... to another level and another state of mind."
Like any other Moynat trunks, the design doesn't follow a conventional square or rectangular shape but rather the shape of the object it encloses. The audiophiles' dream trunk is moulded to perfectly fit the embedded speakers. "It's an engineering feat to mould the shape," Nair says.
The construction of the trunk requires a mould and a counter-mould to give it its signature curves. The construction resembles the process of traditional boat hull-making.
The moulding process can take up to two months, since the wood is moistened for days to attain the required shape. Also, the size of the trunk makes it much more challenging for the artisan to manipulate.
The chassis of the trunk is built by Moynat's master trunkmaker from poplar and Baltic birch wood, which is acoustically superior. All the metallic pieces, such as closures, are hand-tooled to certain specifications, and the patented, historic designs are recreated with a contemporary twist.
Embracing modern lifestyle, smart technology will be incorporated into the design. For example, the main lock uses biometric sensors to keep it from being tampered with. The lock won't be something off-the-shelf but rather developed with Moynat DNA in mind.
The luxury trunk, given its complexity and precision, takes about three years to construct.
"It requires artisans and equipment-makers to work together harmoniously," Nair says.
"As in car- or boat-making, we'll have to build a full-scale prototype model to remove any margin for error and ensure that all the different components fit perfectly."