I originally discovered Love Hultén via his retro gaming console designs. Someone had sent me a post of his via Instagram and I was hooked! After following his account for quite some time and delving a little deeper, I became infatuated with his custom synthesizer casings, like the Carrier 37 and Prism 37, custom made wooden cases for the Korg Minilogue, a four-voice analog synthesizer.
Everything is produced, polished, and assembled by Hultén himself in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Synth History: How did Love Hultén start? Hultén: I attended a local school of design in 2010 and discovered the passion for woodworking. And as a young boy, I used to tear electronic toys apart trying to understand their insides. The raw materials found in the woodshop were a perfect complement to the electronic projects I’d been experimenting with since youth.
My first year, I started working on my first hardwood case. I believe it was a desktop computer. After that, I just went on, making tactile synthesizers, retro-inspired game consoles and other audiovisual contraptions that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.
Synth History: Your designs have a very retro-futuristic feel. What are your aesthetic inspirations? Hultén: Dieter Rams "less is more" take on design has always been a big influence for me, but my style is generally based on an attraction for objects of mystique and the fiction worlds created by great illustrators such as Jan Lööf.
Synth History: What is the process like for designing the housing for retro games and synthesizers?
Hultén: My designs are usually based on something I've come across recently; an interesting object, a simple shape or a graphic illustration – anything that sparks my imagination. I then scour for function or a purpose that could connect with my visual idea in an interesting way. When I find a satisfactory mix between usability and aesthetics, it's a go!
I play a lot with values and standards, suggesting a different perspective on how to relate and interact with objects. I give objects new functions, new values. The smashed-up references in my work have a triggering effect on the viewer/customer, I guess. I want my audience to be enlightened – not just feel nostalgic. Nostalgia is involved to a certain extent, yes, but it's not looking backwards. It's taking steps in different directions simultaneously by using fragments from both past and today, creating unique and balanced objects.
Synth History: How long does one piece generally take to craft? Hultén: Hard to say, but a couple of weeks most likely. Some of my bigger more complex pieces could be months.