Sumii: The TP1 shows great attention to design, not only in the overall form but also in its details. Because it's used in your living room, we wanted to hide anything potentially distracting. Buttons, indicators, and other "mechanical" elements are inset in the edge around the top surface. If you're wondering where the vents are, they're concealed under the edges encircling the unit on the side. Front interfaces are also hidden from view, by a curved sliding cover that capitalizes on the round shape. Once those in engineering understood my intention, they proposed a lot of ideas, too. The disc eject button, for example—that approach came from engineers.
As for the texture, I had in mind something like that of a ceramic vessel. Like a stand users could rest a Cyber-shot or Handycam on after connecting it. I actually lent a favorite ceramic vessel of mine to engineering, and they created a finish similar to ceramics in color and texture. We looked into offering a silver or black version, but we decided that for a kind of base, white is best. There's no "mechanical" feeling at all, this way.
Fukuhara: We applied the same language of design of the TP1 when creating the DT1 Digital TV Tuner and WA1 Wireless Digital Music Streamer. These were actually being planned separately as options for the VAIO line as a whole. In a normal development process, engineering and other work is passed in one direction, from planning to design, but this may pose a risk that the products that emerge reflect different languages of design.
I'm in charge of communication design, where part of our mission is to break down these barriers between departments or projects. Because each product in this group is for your living room or next to your TV, it feels better to have the same language of design for all of them. So how do you organize separate product plans and coordinate departments, individuals, and the world views that these products represent? We started two years ago, by holding regular meetings, for example, to make sure we were all on the same page and shared the same goals.
Looking at the product group that came out of these efforts, I'm impressed at how well they all work, functionally. By "functional" here, I don't mean "easy to use," which has always been a priority for Sony. I mean how design benefits the personal space of your living room, the power of design to make the mood more to your liking. Making products attractive in the first place is intrinsically related to their role in being functional for your personal space, in my opinion. And this time, there's an added synergy from adopting the same language of design for the system as a whole. I encourage people to try it for themselves in their own home.
*Check the Sony website for your country for details on models available locally.