Goetzen:One thing we had to keep in mind as we set to work in design was that previous X series speakers had been a hit in North America. For this reason, it seemed a good idea to build on that image while refining it and tailoring it to European tastes.
With this in mind, I formulated our design goals. Firstly, setting a consistent tone for the series was important. Through a unified look for the five new models, we could demonstrate the breadth of the product line and Sony's commitment to this category.
Another goal was to combine savvy international styling, which satisfies people on both sides of the Atlantic, with distinctive European design flair. Although these might seem at odds, I was sure we could have it both ways by extracting the elements in common to each. The market research I conducted with Daisuke across Europe would prove helpful in this work.
Finally, the appearance outside should somehow reflect the new audio technology inside. The superb audio quality of these speakers is backed by technical innovation, especially in the two upscale models. One thing that sets them apart is the speaker structure. I wanted to highlight this through styling that recalls the richness and spatiality these units deliver.
Goetzen:These goals set the basis for us to distill our key design concepts. One of these was surfaces that feel luxurious to the touch, which our research had shown was important. This is why the controls are crafted of brushed aluminum. Whether you touch the top panel or the docking tray, each time you'll sense the luxuriousness of the metal through your fingers.
Another key aspect is the rounded aluminum panel on top, which was also a favored element in previous models. Here, we combined a recognizable design element appreciated in the North American market with a luxurious material that satisfies European taste. This time, the gleaming, diamond-cut edge gives the shape greater impact. The rounded silver strip and black mesh form a distinctive combination of colors and materials. Across all models, this ensures consistency within the series and serves as a compelling hallmark of Sony design.
The overall shape is sleek and uncomplicated, as you can see. We wanted the speakers to complement many styles of interior design, so we kept it as simple as possible and gave them the presence of a modern sculpture. The top two models, which make a greater impression visually, are wrapped in curved surfaces from front to back. They're also flared at the bottom, suggestive of the expansive soundstage and deep bass. Additionally, these contours hint at the new technology inside - the unique structure of the speaker unit. From the new silhouette, you'll know immediately you're looking at X series speaker systems.
A final point is our approach to the dock connector, which holds audio players. Here, we wanted to avoid ruining the clean, elegant contours. Our solution was to design a retractable docking tray.* The tray is stored neatly in the unit when not in use, or when you're streaming music over a wireless connection(except for RDP-X500iP). We felt that the only thing from the speakers that should extend into your living room is the room-filling sound. It's worth noting that without wireless technology, this kind of design - equipment that graces a room like a sleek sculpture - would not be possible.
* Not included on RDP-X200