Ota: We also paid close attention to detail—for example, the illumination for the power and tray open buttons. We thought it was better to make important operation buttons easy to find even in a living room where the lights are switched off for movie viewing, but on the other hand we did not want to make the lights obtrusive. We wanted light that would enhance the atmosphere in a dark room, but also make button operations easier. Accordingly, we located the buttons in a slit on the edge of the top aluminum panel, with a white LED shining out from within.
However, an abstract design is just lines on a piece of paper. To share our concept with the engineering team, first we created a mockup. This mockup captured everyone's imagination. Now the engineers were enthusiastic too. In fact, the final product ended up looking exactly the same as this first mockup.
We took step-by-step action to overcome the hurdles in our way, such as negotiating favorable partnerships with processing companies and making production more efficient to overcome parts cost problems. We searched for solutions and produced proposals one after another. If one day our customers come to understand the vision of the designers and the care we put into the product, and are inspired by it, we will be very happy. That is why we do not want this model to be locked away in a cabinet, but would like it to be seen by users every day. We want the experiences that this model creates to be as good as the images it projects.
Nakamura: The skill of the designer is the starting point for replicating the design of the mockup in the product. But it is also crucial that the designer and the engineers can discuss together what kind of construction and parts are required to realize the design. While a designer should feel proud of his own design, he must always be open to the ideas of others.
After seeing the mockup, the engineers put all their energies into their work. For example, the light from the white LED varied slightly from lot to lot, even for the same product part. The engineers noticed this, and went to the trouble of checking every lot. They even made their own proposals for the optimum installation position. Other ideas included making the area around the power and open buttons shine with the same whiteness, and adding a little blueness to the light from the rear of the glass panel during startup. We could feel the enthusiasm of the engineers.
There are innumerable ways to add adornments to a design, but it takes a greater subtlety to achieve a minimalist quality and workmanship; a subtlety that is exemplified by this model. The designers and engineers worked together seamlessly to pursue the very best, and the results can be seen in the high-class finish.