Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung "does not belong to the world of technology"


London Design Festival 2015: French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are launching their first electronics product – a flat television for Samsung that is outlined by an I-shaped frame.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

First unveiled earlier today in an exclusive Dezeen movie, the Serif TV is a result of a collaboration between the designers – better known for their furniture, homeware and installations – and the Korean electronics brand's head of visual display design Yun-Je Kang to create the Serif TV.

Exclusive movie interview with the Bouroullecs on the Serif TV

Its colourful frame was designed to fit better within the home, compared to the black and metallic products that currently dominate the market.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

"Serif TV does not belong to the world of technology but the world of furniture and design," said a statement from the studio.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

The product has an I-shaped profile, broadening at the bottom to form a sturdy base and at the top to create a small shelf.

These protrusions give the product the name Serif, after the typography term for the small lines on the end of strokes in letters or symbols.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

"From the outset of designing Serif TV our aim was to craft an object that fused technology with our knowledge in furniture design and to create a solid presence that would sit naturally in any environment," said Erwan Bouroullec.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

The frame surrounds the flat screen and is available in ivory white, dark blue and red. A woven fabric panel in a matching colour slots onto the back of the television to cover the connectors, helping it to look tidy from all angles.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

"Serif TV deploys shapes and colours that have broken away from the usual themes of masculine, cutting-edge technology and extra-large size," said Erwan Bouroullec. "Our TV is more subtle; it doesn't exude power and is made to fit into the world we live in."

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

Attachable legs allow the design to be placed on the floor, or the product can sit on a flat surface. Serif comes as a 40-inch model (102 centimetres), with Serif Medium and Serif Mini versions also available.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

The duo also developed the user interface, including a transition between standby and normal viewing options called "curtain mode". This feature is designed to provide a "silent, abstract impression of the TV screen contents, offering a present, yet recessive, role for the TV".

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec with their Serif TV for Samsung

The collaboration with Samsung began in 2012, when Kang visited the designers' studio in Paris. Numerous drawings, computer models and a series of physical prototypes in wood and clay all formed part of the design process.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

"As technology increasingly forms part of our day-to-days lives, the design of a product is now just as important to consumers as its functionality," said Kang.

"To address this Samsung has been focussed on creating a new breakthrough in the TV market that reflects on users lifestyle and emotions rather than just on technology and specifications, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have been integral in helping us achieve this with the creation of Serif TV."

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

Serif will launch as part of an exhibition at Somerset House from 21 to 27 September 2015, as part of this year's London Design Festival. See Dezeen's pick of exhibitions and installations taking place during the event.

Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung
A sketch of the Bouroullec brothers' Serif TV for Samsung

The TV will be available from retailers in the UK, France, Sweden and Denmark from 2 November 2015.

At the CES trade show in Las Vegas at the beginning of this year, Samsung unveiled a TV designed by Yves Behar that features a curved screen mounted on a cube-shaped pedestal.

  • fergusnaughton

    This is fantastic. In a world of electronic goods where there seems to be a constant further refinement towards the thinner or slicker, the Bouroullec brothers create a beautiful object.

    This is something that had set apart B+O from the mainstream for years (as well as the price tag!). I believe that to an extent that this is why most galleries and installation artists seem to use the SONY KX-27. That said it had made me start thinking about building a nice frame/box to put my TV into.

  • Sim

    I’m not sure about this. I have always thought it’s a shame losing the TV as a box. I used to have one on wheels in my house with a thick wood “surround” (the way they used to be made). Because of the sturdiness of the thing I could literally kick it around and watch it all over the place. When I wasn’t watching I’d tuck it away.

    Now we have these black panels that are terrible to look at when turned off that are almost always too big. Not sure however if this is the solution either, though.

    • buddyguy

      “Now we have these black panels that are terrible to look at when turned off that are almost always too big.” Oh boo hoo. How do we manage getting out of bed with all these first-world problems? Here is an idea, don’t consume television.

  • Bobby D

    I wish I liked this, but I really don’t. I can sort of see where they were going and there are elements of it that I can definitely appreciate, but I think it looks dated. It doesn’t look like a piece of furniture either.

    The shelf versions are nicer and I like what the frame is doing, but why flare the top out again? Other than to achieve ‘serif’ as a concept (which you’d only see from the side), this makes it looks very heavy indeed.

    • UnrealClock

      Easy, you can put stuff on top of it like you used to.

  • AA

    It is a great piece of furniture as expected from the Bouroullec brothers. Idea is great and the proportions are beautiful. My only regret is about the back panel and the legs. They both don’t work.

  • CoddledEggs

    TVs generally have a lot of other junk plugged into them. This stripped-down design belies that fact that you’re going to need a shelf for all the boxes and consoles and power-bars and wires. The image of the TV with its wistful wall-plug is a beautiful lie.

    • You have a good point. The designers should’ve kept the original case of the TV and wrapped the frame of the stand around it, just like a cellphone cover.

  • amsam

    It’s terrific. It doesn’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a strong real design idea brought to the barren landscape of TV design. About time!

  • Kim L.

    I like the concept. I can’t see any ports though. Are they hidden underneath the fabric part at the very bottom? If so, that is a very good idea.

  • Nick

    It would make more sense to have thickened the bottom edge only where needed.

  • Guest

    What’s better than something wafer thin, sitting flat to the wall, without a wire in sight? That’s progress.

  • Chris MacDonald

    I love it. How about a picture with the myriad wires protruding from it? These chaps are on the right track, I think.