Feature Design NAS-V7M/V5
[ 2010.10.5 up ]

Shaped and finished to accent rooms in style

Look again-it's a stereo system. With unconventional contours and finishes, this dock speaker system looks great no matter how you position it. The new styling comes from a regard for interior design. Go behind the scenes with the designers who made inimitable Sony style clear from any angle.

Akio Suzuki
Akio Suzuki
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Senior Manager
Yasufumi Yamaji
Yasufumi Yamaji
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Producer and Senior Designer
Yusuke Otani
Yusuke Otani
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer

A fresh start in hi-fi design

Suzuki: A trend has emerged in audio product categories in recent years. The mini hi-fi market is shrinking, but dock speaker systems without CD players have become more popular. It's a sign that people's listening habits are changing. Instead of shopping for CDs, people are buying music online. And people just play the music stored on their Walkman player or computer through their stereo. This is more common than ever.

Still, some surveys reveal that eight out of ten people listen to CDs, too. People value their CD collection, and many are looking for a compatible system that captures their interest. This category holds a lot of potential, so we wanted to breathe some new life into it.

Some features of the new systems in this project had been decided at the beginning-Walkman compatibility and Wi-Fi streaming. You won't be tethered by an Ethernet cable if you want to enjoy the music on your Walkman or computer, or tune in to Internet radio stations. After all, discovering great music not already in your collection is a new and compelling feature of these units.

It was our task as designers to restyle these new listening habits. Starting from the assumption that we'd be thinking outside the box in audio styling, we discussed as many ideas as possible as we narrowed down the themes we wanted to explore. This was a fresh start, unconstrained by preconceptions or old habits. But choosing a worthwhile approach from unlimited possibilities proved quite a daunting task.

Setting the tone: interior-conscious design

Yamaji: Yusuke and I brainstormed about design. Mini hi-fi systems call to mind a main unit and two speakers-essentially three separate components. On front, there's usually a volume knob and a screen, and below this, a CD tray. It's an appearance that defines these systems for most people. In this project, though, the system wasn't tethered by an Ethernet cable, so we were free to adopt a portable style. Something as transportable as a CD radio boombox. We found ourselves drawing sketches from many angles.

Just how important it was to complement interior aesthetics became clear as we explored these ideas. Conventional three-piece sets don't complement modern interiors. You can only install them in some places, facing a particular direction, and they're cluttered with distracting lines and buttons. It's time that people stop compromising. These systems should go well with interiors, and we should be able to put them where we want to relax, in the best position for listening.

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