British loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins is relocating its world-famous research and development centre to a new, larger, and better-equipped facility in West Sussex, England.
The new facility is called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE), based on its location in the town of Southwater. The initials are homage to B&W’s first R&D centre, the Steyning Research Establishment. It is more than twice the size of the original, with a floor area of 2,750m² and features several differently-sized anechoic chambers and multiple listening rooms—one of which is a near re-creation of the original listening room designed by one of B&W’s founders, John Bowers. An ‘Experience Centre’ that will be open to the public will be a showcase for B&W’s products.
The new facility is in part required because in the past two years, Bowers & Wilkins has increased the size of its R&D team by 40 per cent and, once the new facility opens later this year, the company says it will add further design and development engineers to its team. ‘For more than 50 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been defined by cutting edge acoustic technologies complemented by beautifully designed products,’ said B&W’s CEO Gideon Yu. ‘Inspired by John Bowers’ quest for what he called ‘True Sound’, our engineers are dedicated to honouring and continuing that legacy today. The new SRE is an extension of our rich sound engineering tradition. It is designed to further the mission of crafting products that deliver incredible sound experiences and beyond to our customers and consumers.’
John Martin, Director of Sales at Bowers & Wilkins Australia, told Australian Hi-FI Magazine that the move represents a significant investment by B&W that will accelerate the company’s ability to develop new capabilities and drive innovation across its suite of hi-fi loudspeakers, headphones and high-performance car audio products. ‘Every major acoustic innovation that has defined Bowers & Wilkins had its beginnings at that original ‘University of Sound’, established by John Bowers in 1981,’ he said. ‘The original SRE lays claim to innovations including the Diamond tweeter, the Continuum and Aerofoil cones, as well as iconic products such as the Zeppelin, the 800 D3, the PX noise-cancelling headphones as well as the ground-breaking Nautilus speakers.’
For more information, please contact Bowers & Wilkins