Bouroullec brothers design new TV
for Samsung as a piece of furniture


World exclusive: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have designed a new television for Samsung with a distinctive I-shaped profile, which the French designers say they approached like a piece of furniture (+ movie).

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

Called Serif, the Bouroullec brothers' television features a case that flares out into a base at the bottom and a shelf at the top. The resulting form resembles a capital "I" in a serif font when viewed from the side.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

In an exclusive video interview with Dezeen, Erwan Bouroullec says that he and his brother wanted to create a product with more character than other television sets, where size and slimness are usually seen as the most desirable qualities.

"One of the key points was to move away from ultra-thin screens," he says. "There was no more language – a black flat screen is a black flat screen."

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

The base at the bottom of the TV means it can be placed on top of other objects without the need for a separate stand, while owners are encouraged to place items like books or ornaments on the shelf at the top.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

Bouroullec says that he wanted to design a television that could be placed and moved around like any other piece of furniture in the home.

"The motive was to make an object that sits properly in the world we live in," he explains.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

Serif will be launched on 21 September during London Design Festival in three sizes. Serif will have a 40-inch screen, Serif Medium will come with a 32-inch screen, while Serif Mini will have a screen size of 24 inches.

Serif Mini will be available in white or red, while the two larger TVs will be available in white and dark blue. The two larger TVs will also come with four tubular legs, which screw into the bottom.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

The TV features a fabric panel on the back to hide all the ports and wires, so it can be moved away from the wall if required.

"It has some magnets on it," Bouroullec says. "So you can easily open it, plug in as much as you want, and then close it."

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

As well as the television set itself, the Bouroullec brothers also designed a simple white remote control, as well as the user interface.

"We got total freedom, so we pretty much did everything," Bouroullec says. "Serif is quite complete – inside and outside."

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

The main feature of the Bouroullecs' user interface is a setting called Curtain Mode, which covers what's on the screen with a translucent graphic effect. This enables users to temporarily hide the image without turning the TV off completely.

"You can just shut down the live content like you would pull a curtain in front of a window," Bouroullec says. "During a soccer game, when there are advertisements, you can shade it for a while so they disappear."

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

The Bouroullec brothers are best known for their furniture designs and have released new collections for brands including Vitra, Artek and Hay this year.

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Serif is the first television set they have designed, but Bouroullec believes that large consumer electronics companies like Samsung would benefit from working with small independent designers more often.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung

"When you go into a new field, you can really open new doors," he says. "On one hand, you can really be naive and make mistakes a child might make. But on the other hand, your ability to go behind the normal borders is much stronger."

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

This movie was produced by Dezeen for Samsung. It was filmed at the Bouroullec brothers' studio in Paris, France.

The music is by UK producer 800xL.

Serif TV by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

  • Aaron

    TV as furniture – right out of Bang & Olufsen’s playbook. I really like that approach in general and also like this implementation. The jury is still out on the interface though. And on quality considering we’re talking about Samsung…

    • Jeff Lokckings

      Wow, that is a one ugly design, especially the one with four skinny legs. Looks like a senior mid-term project.

  • tony365

    Oh man I love these guys. I was thinking that televisions were going to go cabinet-based again and then they do this! Perfect. I am still doing a cabinet version anyway, but it can’t compete with this. I love a celebration of the TV, super COOL.

  • Arjay Cee

    Pretty as this is, I’m not sure a flange around a screen constitutes “opening new doors” or “going beyond normal borders.” Is it a job stipulation in product design that you have to sound like a politician on acid?

    • chris weightman

      You may be interested to the know that Erwan Bouroullec addressed your comment during his talk at the V&A museum yesterday. He explained that often he does need to behave like a politician in order to successfully bring their ideas to market, even more so when working with larger organisations like Samsung.

      He also related his thought process to the experience of being on acid in the sense that he needs to see things which do not exist. So in answer to your question, yes, Erwan believes that it is a job stipulation to sound like a politician on acid.

      • Arjay Cee

        That is indeed interesting, Chris. Not everyone is a Paul Rand, of course, and able to speak about design as eloquently as he or she performs it. But it is hype in our market culture that I had in mind to implicate rather than Erwan himself. I cannot begrudge him or anyone else politicking to get work. On acid or without.

  • NJB

    Ugly peddled as revolutionary.

  • Lars Bertil Fimmerstad

    A prize should be awarded to the person who can have this TV at home for more than a week without tipping it over to crash. Form does certainly not follow function here!

    • jjjj

      A prize should be awarded to the person being able to judge tip-over stability from an image.

  • Bruno de Paris

    Not revolutionary, yet very good. I’d say treated like a building, and that is why I like it.

  • Robert

    How does it look when I connect my internet TV box?

  • Table top looks cool. The stand I’m not sure on. Why does a TV have to become a piece of furniture or art? Surely it should fade into the background… It’s bit like putting a TV in a picture frame on the wall.

  • Joao Gonçalves

    Very sensible and a good answer to the lifeless black square that we constantly shove in our face. And unique. I Like it.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Yeah, this is a new idea… from the 1950s.

    • Zenith made televisions furniture, but this looks OK. :)

  • tobi

    Can’t wait until smartphones get their dial plate… analogique-numérique-analogique. Anyway, great contemporary design.

  • bemyguest2

    That sideways steel beam thing is certainly an elegant solution for displays with poor viewing angles. I guess so.