Contemplating Monolithic Design
by Sony and BarberOsgerby

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Milan 2010: British designers BarberOsgerby have collaborated with electronics brand Sony to present a series of conceptual products combining light and sound.

Called Contemplating Monolithic Design, the projects are on show in a sound-absorbing chamber covered in foam pyramids in the Zona Tortona district in Milan this week.

The exhibition features five different spaces that represent Sony's vision of how their products can be integrated into contemporary interior spaces.

Ideas on show include combined lighting and speakers, a near-field speaker integrated in a headrest to avoid disturbing others when watching television, and speakers disguised as furniture.

See all our stories about Milan 2010 in our special category.

The following information is from Sony:


Sony Corporation, Milan: Sony today opened the doors to its much anticipated exhibition “Contemplating Monolithic Design” at Milano Salone Mobile, presenting the latest in Sony’s creativity.

Exclusively for this exhibition, Sony designers have worked with Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to explore, through conceptual archetypes, the extension and integration of electronics, with furniture and architectural design. Vis are offered a glimpse of how pushing the boundaries of technology and design could shape the living room of the future.

The seed for this exhibition was Sony’s new design concept, Monolithic Design. The concept of this new design, seeking only what is essential, leads us to consider the sense of presence that products bring to a space. This ideal has the potential to change the face of future home entertainment in the context of interior design.

The exhibition at Milano Salone del Mobile intentionally pushes the boundaries of the core concept of Monolithic Design and serves to elevate design language to the next level. The result is an experimental vision symbolising a deeper integration of product within contemporary lifestyles.

The Space

The setting for this experiential revelation is an anechoic chamber; filled with sound absorbing cones to create a noiseless space. Anechoic spaces allow for keen sense of hearing, our vision becomes sharper, leading us to tune in to the reality of the things around us. We invite the visitors to focus their senses on new realm unfolding around them, conveyed in the five areas of archetypes.

In the quest for Monolithic Design, we limited the focus to essential elements, however, as the diverse examples on display show - from lighting to furniture to architecture and living space - the potential to inspire pieces that blend seamlessly into many settings is unlimited.

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby said of the exhibition, “Our thinking was to create abstract objects for the everyday living environment, to show suggestions how the Sony technologies might appear in our lives. We found it most interesting to explore abstracted, pure forms, each one representing a different area o living space. We have used simple raw materials, since these seemed a strong partner for the great complexity of the microtechnology that they were paired In forming and resolving our ideas we came to four new archetypes that to us represented all the possibilities of the new Sony technologies in the home.”

Kaz Ichikawa, project leader, Sony Creative Center commented, “For this exhibition we wanted to present a vision of what can be achieved through consumer electronics design and an integration with furniture and home architecture. The exhibition offers visitors the chance to experience a journey through the purs finding the definitive balance between making a statement yet working in harmony with surroundings. We have presented this in five areas, each are experimental works in progress that illustrate varying scenario’s representing Sony’s vision of how products can integrate with contemporary interiors. It is extremely exciting Sony to be displaying such forward-thinking and thought-provoking conceptual ideas on such an international scale.”

Area 1: Icon - The essence of Monolithic Design

In this space Sony presents an installation representing the essence of Monolithic Design at its purest and its most symbolic level. The object is set, in a monumental style, into a slab of slate, representing the dynamic, elegant presence of a form, which stands quiet and calm, yet penetrates the earth and air of entire environment.

Area 2: Insight - Sound and light in a single object

Visitors in area two will experience a demonstration of how sound and light may integrate and coexist in interior spaces. Owing to the development of Sony’s u speaker drive system, vertical drive-technology and proprietary digital signal processing technology, speakers can be now integrated to LED lighting to maint the personalized decor. Here the archetypes apply materials such as cultured marble, wood and organic glass that fits comfortably within multiple home environments. The harmony of the glow radiating from the light with the sound emanating from the omni-directional speaker producing 360° acoustic field embodies a new archetype.

Area 3: Intimate - Personal visual soundfield

An exercise in the essential. Pairing a television with near-field speakers yields a private sphere of entertainment that offers a soundstage with impressive presence. In this personal space, we can immerse ourselves in audio and video content without disturbing others or being distracted. Within the space stand stool, television and stand, and near-field speaker and stand, creating a new personal experience.

Area 4: Integrate - Visual sound furniture

Area four offers a variant on Monolithic Design expression, with an intelligent connection to furniture and interior space. The mechanical aspect of television o audio systems is neatly incorporated in this archetype to express a new face in furniture. Here, the archetype creates audio without imposition of a mass of imposing technology. The material was made by stererolithography, a 3D printing process providing a pattern and unique structure which have been uniquely designed to achieve acoustic transparency.

Area 5: Install - Architectural furniture integrated with sound lights

This area connects all elements of light, space and sound. Experimental products and furniture populate this experiential space of an abstracted living room. essential pieces of a speaker, lights and television do not dominate any space, yet their powerful simplicity is immediately apparent.

In the quest for Monolithic Design, we limited the focus to essential elements, however, as the diverse examples on display show - from lighting to furniture to architecture and living space - the potential to inspire pieces that blend seamlessly into many settings is unlimited.


DezeenTV: Contemplating Monolithic Design by Sony and BarberOsgerby

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Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2010 at 11:35 am by Brad Turner. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • Didier D

    Everyone agrees this is the best show in Milan this year – excellent work boys – Chapeau !! Did.D