Exploring the intersection of music and material


Battersea & Wright Valve Amplifier
2015 (4 months) 

Product Design

Victoria University of Wellington
Guidance from Tim Miller


Reimagining classic valve amplifier technology, the design combines the organic fluidity of music with the striking lines of functionalist manufacture.

The architecturally inspired design takes its name from iconic architecture from the time vacuum tube technology was dominant. The gesture of power and function of London’s Battersea Power Station and modernist cantilever form of Wright’s Falling Water.


In contrast to traditional amplifier design, where components are boxed within a case, the components of Battersea & Wright are integral to the structure. The Power Transformer and Output Transformer were first positioned for peak performance, which defined the form of the design. The aluminium heat sync forms the structure of the amplifier, delicately holding the thin walnut body, enclosing the Circuit Board and supporting the Vaccuum Tubes.


Design Process


Manufacture Process


The amplifier was designed to be manufactured primary through CNC processes. 

The walnut body is CNC milled and laser cut before being reinforced with aluminium and finished by hand. The aluminium chassis is water-jet cut and assembled around the transformers. The walnut body is slotted into the chassis and the circuit board is attached underneath. 

Not hampered by tradition uniform manufacture, CNC allowed each component to be individually considered. This enabled the varying angled cuts to produce a subtle curve that defines the aesthetic of the final product.