Vitra and Panasonic collaborate to create Vitrine glass television
Vitra Panasonic Vitrine glass television

Vitra and Panasonic collaborate to create glass cabinet that is actually a TV

Vitra, Panasonic and designer Daniel Rybakken have joined forces to create the concealed Vitrine television, on show at Milan design week.

The prototype TV is made of a simple wood frame holding what looks like a single pane of glass at a slight angle.

It's only when the TV is switched on that it becomes apparent that the "glass" is actually an OLED screen.

All the electronic components are hidden within the frame. Panasonic Design describes the television as blending "naturally into any contemporary living space".

"The model carefully balances between art and design," said Rybakken, a Norwegian designer whose recent works include dramatic lighting for Luceplan. "As a screen it no longer dictates its placement nor its role in the living space."

"The dominating large black surface is instead transformed into something that can highlight what's behind, what's displayed or nothing at all," he continued.

On display now at Vitra's stand at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair, the minimalist Vitrine is the result of a two-year research and development collaboration between the Swiss furniture brand and Panasonic Design – the innovation arm of the electronics company.

The project shows brands continuing to evolve the television into a lifestyle product, or even a piece of furniture, that fits with the interior design of a space.

In this "invisible" take on electronics, technology is meant to blend into the background rather than dominate people's lives.

Elsewhere at Milan design week, high-end Danish brand Bang & Olufsen has launched its version of the disguised television, the Beovision Harmony, which has a sculptural presence and unfurls to reveal the full screen.

The new designs seemingly follow in the footsteps of Samsung's 2017 Frame TV, designed by Yves Behar to look like a painting hanging on the wall when not in use. LG also came out with a concealable product, the roll-up Signature TV, earlier this year.

"Vitrine converts from a passive object into a lively and dynamic element, from something meant to be seen into something meant to be watched," said Panasonic designer Michael Shadovitz.

Panasonic has no plans to commercialise the product as yet. Vitrine will be on display at the Salone del Mobile until 14 April, and then transfer to Panasonic's new show space &Panasonic in Tokyo.