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Some bizarre new designs from Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Shape

From £2,920 

I was standing in Bang & Olufsen’s Knightsbridge store, in front of what looked like a 12ft-wide Batman logo made of hexagons hanging on the wall, and thinking: ‘Is this it? Have they finally flipped?’

After decades of expensive speakers that look like 6ft kettles and Mongolian gongs, has the company at last departed for the place where the buses don’t run?

The Beosound Shape hangs on your wall, and tries to bridge two different, alarmingly expensive worlds – hi-fi and high-end home design – with a price tag that could wipe the smile off the face of the most hardened Elle Deco devotee.

Is it furniture? Is it hi-fi? Who knows – just keep that platinum credit card handy…

You can design your own array of hexagons on B&O’s website, starting at a modest three grand-ish for a small array, and going up to north of ten grand for gigantic beasts like the Batman thing in Kensington.

In the flesh, it’s incredibly impressive – the hexagons have a sort of MC Escher optical-illusion feel, and you almost jump back when music starts blasting out. Put enough hexagons together and you reach levels of volume that could be used to extract confessions from political prisoners.

Each tile can either be a speaker, an amplifier or a receiver (it works via Apple’s Airplay or via Bluetooth) – and you can keep adding to your heart’s content, or until you look at the price tag and get an instant reminder of why you don’t usually shop at B&O.

In all honesty, this stuff doesn’t deliver the sort of electrifying sound you’d get if you paid the same amount for an amp and speakers – but then a boring old amp and speakers won’t make every single guest in your home step back and ask: ‘What on earth is that?’

I suspect this’ll be a hit with B&O’s well-heeled clientele – and if anyone has suggested that the company had lost the surreal design mojo behind such classics as its CD rack that looks like a cooker hob, this is proof that it’s alive and well.

Is it furniture? Is it hi-fi? Who knows – just keep that platinum credit card handy…