Niitsu: I first got the idea for the floating design in 2000. At the time, I tried resting a Plasma television on a glass stand to see what it would look like. Suddenly, I was looking at a new form of TV, one that appeared to float dramatically. It was impressive, and it made me wonder how to achieve this airy, hovering effect without a stand.
But at the time, I was "trapped in common sense," so to speak. I couldn't get past my preconceptions. The larger the screen, the smaller we had to make the set as a whole, for example. A floating design, achieved using only the main part of the TV—and the set had to be small. No matter how I tried to sort out the contradictions, I wasn't satisfied with my ideas. My attempts at sketches using design software were only trial and error. But once, without much thought, I expanded the screen outline, and suddenly, I knew that was the design I wanted. It was all over in a flash. The bezel is surrounded by a clear area, which makes the screen appear to float. A little finesse in juggling these ideas was the key. Because the bezel is hung on the set, there's no need to make the set smaller. In a flash, I had the solution for the floating design.
It was my way of refining the floating design for the BRAVIA. I hope we can keep the same concept in years to come. There's no need to change it. That is, unless a more attractive design appears.
Tsuchiya: In our work, we're always requested to update designs if someone higher up thinks the freshness has faded. But every time, I say to myself, wait a minute, that's not right. Our lives don't change so radically; some things must be permanent and somehow universal. Honestly, I don't think we want to change a design identity once we've established it. We'd prefer to defend and refine it. In this sense, the floating design was a silver bullet for Sony. It won a competition intended to explore a variety of options, after all.
The X Series/XBR Series would not normally have come this far without executive support. All it took was a comment from Takuya rejecting a visible remote control sensor in the clear section to get a specialized optical system in the set. And for the border of the acrylic panel, we use extruded aluminum. It's actually quite a feat to achieve a seamless, perfectly straight finish with parts this large. As for the replaceable bezel, it's embossed on all sides. Although this helps the speaker area blend in well, it's definitely a design we would otherwise avoid because of the challenges in casting.
But there wasn't a word of resistance on the grounds it would be more expensive or difficult for production lines. I think engineering that goes this far to meet the seemingly unreasonable demands of those in design is worthy of respect.