Maunakea is an integrated entertainment system designed for expansive, ultra-luxury spaces like superyachts and penthouses. A partnership between L-Acoustics and the Austrian manufacturer C SEED, it combines both company’s flagship products to create a veritable nest of technology. For these rarefied environments, only substantial statement pieces can compete with the surroundings.
L-Acoustics was founded in France in 1984 to specialise in high-end speaker installations, whether fixed in place in stadiums, theatres, and clubs, or for events like festivals, tours, and corporate events.
The company also has a burgeoning side-line in comprehensive home set-ups. The pinnacle of these is the ‘Island’, an oval shaped seating area that accommodates a 24-channel audio system and proprietary format audio player, as well as the ability to tap into any conceivable audio source. With thirteen front speakers, five rear speakers, and five overhead speakers, it gives listeners a completely immersive sonic experience. A pair of concert-standard sub-woofers are also incorporated into the marine ply structure, sending deep physical vibrations through the unit thanks to the 24,000 watts of power on tap.
While it’s easy to connect the Island to a home cinema set-up, conventional Hi-Fi system, streaming service, mobile device or games console, L-Acoustics’ own HD music source is intriguingly visual. The company produces ‘Bubbles’, essentially solid-state drives embedded in a crystal casing, each designed to hold a single album, re-mastered and remixed to make the most of the Island’s 24-channel playback system. While the Bubbles obviously tie in with the nautical theme, we bet they don’t stack as well as CDs.
The Island is a piece of architecture as well as a music system and is available in a wide variety of finishes and materials; L-Acoustics will work with your interior designer (whether on or off-shore) to tie in the whole ensemble to your décor. With prices starting at around £300,000, you’re going to want to ensure it all fits in.
Where does Maunakea come in? Named for Hawaii’s most famed dormant volcano, this new system pairs an L-Acoustics Island with C SEED’s vast M1 television. Introduced two years ago, the M1 is a technological behemoth that rises up out of the ground like something from a sci-fi set and unfolds its five panels into a 165” 4K MicroLED screen.
Like the Island, you’re going to need to re-engineer your house, yacht, or penthouse to accommodate the mechanism, which folds away completely flush with the floor when not in use.
The price you pay for such invisibility? An M1 on its own will set you back just under £300,000, with no word as to whether that includes excavation, reinforcement, or installation. This is a serious piece of kit, weighing around 1.3 tons all in, so incorporating it into a yacht or a penthouse will be a substantial feat of engineering.
Add in the spatial, physical, and electrical demands of the matching Island, and you’re looking at an entertainment system that’s as complex to specify and build as a small house.
Bringing these two behemoths together would seem to justify the claim that Maunakea is the ‘ultimate personal auditorium experience’. There’s no word on the total price but given that a superyacht typically runs costs around $1m per metre, the Maunakea Sound Lounge is ultimately just another drop in a very deep ocean.
This article is part of The T3 Edit (opens in new tab), a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.