Review: Yohann iPad Stand

September 4, 2014
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I am often accused of being a desensitized cynic, but I do have my moments and here’s an upcoming product that rings all my right bells. Why? Because it rings all my “simplicity and function first” Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van Der Rohe preference bells, that’s why. I didn’t think I could get all ooh-ah concerning a fundamentalist iPad stand, but the Yohann iPad Stand, exquisitely designed by Berend Frenzel, one of the young stars of Swiss architecture, really is a star turn.

For some folks, simplicity means stupid; like every person ever who sneered at the spoke-less wheel, two-ply toilet paper, Picasso’s Blue Period and the snare drum; the people you listen to in conversation next to you at a Crate & Barrel store while they peruse a one-piece stainless steel tea-strainer which causes offense because it costs $39.95, and comments like, “Oh, I thought of something exactly like that when I was a kid.” The point, people, really is simplicity. Whether it’s a tea strainer or an iPad Stand, simplicity is what makes it worth more, not less.

Review: Yohann iPad Stand

As I write, two different versions are currently being crowd funded on Kickstarter. One, the Yohann Laquer, features an exquisitely lathed fiber glass-reinforced polymer body coated in hundreds of layers of high quality “piano” lacquer finish, designed and built in Germany.

The other is a handcrafted wooden version. The one I saw was made in Italy out of single pieces of elm. The latter is all the more impressive because of its seamless, one-piece lightweight smoothness, which can house your iPad at three variable viewing angles, from stark upright to a more slanted lean-back angle. Walk into the room and you can set them both up in landscape and portrait modes. Beyond resting it on a hard, flat surface, you can rest it on something more soft and curved like your lap or beer belly.

“It is proof of high culture to say the greatest matters in the simplest way,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, thus the Shinto-type Buddhist notion that influences Herr Frenzel’s architecture. The third step of offering a prayer to the kami, of both thanksgiving and petition for the future where architecture, music, dance, and ritual reenactment of planting, harvest, or history are often involved in the large community celebrations. Thus Shinto celebrations bring the Kami into the presence of the daily life of your community and its individual citizens, thus elementalizing Yohann’s iPad Stand into something which fits our needs.

With lightweight designs created by Studio Silber, the embedded hole underneath the stand’s rim accommodates a charging cable, and holes have also been incorporated into the design to match up to the tablet’s speakers and optimize sound quality. The lightweight design is available in lacquered versions or in sustainably grown woods.

The fiber glass-reinforced polymer and lacquer-finished version is currently available at $59 for early Kickstarter backers. A number of wood versions will cost you $189. The Yohann Laquer fits the iPad 2/3/4/Air, while the wood model adds the iPad mini, too.

As I’ve already said, there’s way too much moaning about the price of craftsmanship.  Premium prices are mostly due to Herr Frenzel, who wanted his designs to be manufactured locally and made from sustainably grown wood types in cherry, walnut, oak or maple. Additionally, the money raised will go towards legal representation for patents pending in the U.S., India and China.

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