Slice of Living 2018

Soft Minimalism
Embedding the viewing experience into day-to-day living

What do designers need to focus on? One of the keys is figuring out how to give TVs comfortable, natural spots to occupy in living spaces and “nestle” the devices into day-to-day life. That vision comes together in “Soft Minimalism”, a concept that fuses warm, welcoming shapes and textures with no-frill configurations to deepen the viewing experience.

Occupying the space between harmony and emphasis

When designers are looking at ways to harmonise TVs with living spaces, a piece of art can be an inspiration. Artwork and sculptures manage to function as natural inhabitants of the space despite incorporating attention-capturing visual attributes. Blending the elements “harmony” and “emphasis,” two seemingly incongruous characteristics, art fills spaces with unique tones that resonate with comfort and luxury. The “Soft Minimalism” concept centres on uniting the discreet and the noticeable into the look of a TV as an actual object.

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Easy to be around: an important quality for people and TVs

If TVs could find that balance, people would have more configurations to choose from — and that freedom would help weave TVs further into the fabric of everyday life. To make that kind of intimacy a reality, a TV design needs to have warmth. A person who’s too detached and restrained might be difficult to feel comfortable around. The same goes for TVs: while minimalist designs might be vital in helping people immerse themselves in their viewing experiences, there's a risk of making the designs feel a bit cold and inorganic if the minimalist agenda is pushed too hard.

That’s the basic premise behind the themes of “Soft Minimalism,” an approach that uses gentle detailing, engaging materials and textures, and warm hues, to take the chill off a minimalist configuration. The result? A TV that wows when it’s on, eliminating extraneous elements to maximise the power of the visual experience, while residing comfortably in its environment when it’s off, harmonising with the space like a piece of artwork. We live in an age where simplicity and comfort are more important than ever. Emerging from that context, the “Soft Minimalism” concept shapes a new embodiment of what a TV can be.

How new value can grow out of antinomy

We’re always trying to find new experiences and new value in antinomy, the contradictory, paradoxical elements of design. The “Soft Minimalism” concept is basically proposing a “white black.” On the one hand, it’s got an emphatic visual presence — but on the other hand, it blends into spaces with the cool, withdrawn feel of a video system. For us, the focus was on developing a TV that would balance those two contradictory dimensions and resonate with today’s lifestyles.

Tako, Chief Art Director

Minimalism styled with softness

The AF9, with its OLED display, represents a masterful fusion of the viewing and listening experience. And all this condensed into a single slate—the screen, with only a stand in the back to hold it up. The actuator and subwoofer are placed inside the stand. Its shape and materials are imbued with softness, with a rounded bezel and fabric-covered rear panel. These characteristics allow the AF9 to exude an emphatic visual presence, while also blending into its surroundings.

Texture that quietly evokes function

The ZF9, with its ultra-high image quality, is a creator’s dream. The bezel has a black, speckled finish like that of a DSLR camera, that’s resistant to nicks and scrapes, and stands out against the metallic look of the rest of the TV. The minimalistic look extends to the stands, which are simply moulded in aluminium. Characterised by a natural elegance, the ZF9 feels like a piece of art.

The screen turns off but the style stays on

Not everything in a living space has a specific function; artwork and sculptures, for example, don’t actually do anything. An idle TV falls into that category too. Works of art produce a kind of energy and richness by just being there — and we wanted to see if we could make TVs do the same thing. That’s why we adopted a new perspective in formulating the “Soft Minimalism” approach. Instead of seeing the physical presence of a TV as a distraction to eliminate, we reimagined it as a meaningful asset.

Yokota, Art Director

A presence to behold, accentuating the space

The BRAVIA® stand, emulating the exquisite presence of a sculpture, features a simple structure of square, metallic bars that come into contact with the underlying surface at individual points — a design that creates the kind of unique sense of balance and tension that you find in art gallery displays.

Thanks to its sturdy construction, which uses an inverted V-shape to ensure stability, the stand allows the TV to be positioned in a wider range of locations and harmonise gracefully with the aesthetics of living spaces.

This BRAVIA OLED TV features a minimal two-panel structure with one for the stand and one for the screen. By rounding the edges of the panels, the team accentuated the design’s sleek configuration to create a lighter, airier feel.

Comfortable solidarity

Often, the mix and jumble of different things in a living space is what brings the entire room together. To incorporate that kind of complementary heterogeneity into BRAVIA®, the design team aligned the angles of the stand and the soundbar casing — two visually disparate elements — for a more comfortable fit.

The smooth, gentle contours of handmade craftwork

Hand-crafted shapes have the natural ability to deliver the perfect fit — whether you’re holding a plate in your hand, sitting in a chair, or grasping a tool. The BRAVIA® design team sought to capture that feel through a variety of tweaks, such as rounding the corners of the bezel and soundbar casing to create a soft, gentle form.

Patterns and materials that reveal functional beauty

BRAVIA® designers took innovative approaches to the back panel of the TV. The design incorporates heat-release slits and terminal covers into a network of geometric patterns, for example, making the TV look as elegant from the back as it does from the front. The soundbar, meanwhile, features a unique amalgam of different materials that not only reinforces the functional purpose of components with a visual touch but also enriches the aesthetic harmony between the overall design and the surrounding space.

The key is finding balance

A soundbar can generate the kind of audio that a TV can’t produce by itself — and it’s capable of rendering sound in high dimensions without much effort. In designing the soundbar, we focused on finding a higher order balance that’d make its presence, affinity with the TV, and harmony with the interior space all fall into place.

Wada, Senior Manager

Bringing people and TVs into a warmer, more comfortable relationship, the BRAVIA® design represents a new step forward for viewing experiences in living spaces.