Rod White, chief designer at Philips TV & Sound, discussed the electronics brand's new collection of portable audio accessories with Georg Jensen in this talk produced by Dezeen for the brand's collaboration with Virtual Design Festival.
White spoke to Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs about the brand's latest collaboration with the Danish metalware brand.
"We wanted to design them in a way that enhances your home or on-the-go experience," White said in the talk.
The range took design queues from pieces found in the archive of Georg Jensen during a visit White paid to the brand's Copenhagen headquarters.
Influenced by forms found in nature, each product in the range incorporates polished steel details by Georg Jensen as well as Kvadrat textiles and leather panelling from Scottish leather brand Muirhead.
"We bring in a much more organic, less technological and more feminine language, together with the material choices and colours, that allow the product to be unique, beautiful and relevant," White explained of the range.
Combining the utilitarian function of Philips' products with the forms of heritage brands such as Georg Jensen is a conscious effort on behalf of the brand, according to White, who said it cuts through the clutter of the market.
"This is an example of adding value to an already oversaturated market," he said.
"We want to be different, but we want we want to be meaningfully unique," White stated. "We want to make products that make people happy and proud."
Focus on European design
White explained that through collaborating with European heritage design brands like Georg Jensen, Kvadrat and Muirhead, the electronics brand has been able to reach a new group of design-conscious consumers.
"There's more than one take on what European design is," White said. "If you're talking to a fashion studio in Milan it's a different answer than you're going to get from a furniture brand in Scandinavia."
"There's very different starting points but everybody has the same vocabulary of a premium understanding of craftsmanship and joy of ownership," he explained.
Four principles of design
According to White, this understanding of European design has become central to the Philips TV & Sound design philosophy, which he narrows down to four main principles, the first of which stresses that its products should be easily understandable.
"So if you pick up a remote control, you know which side is the top and which way is the front."
Its second and third principles look to minimise while also optimising design details on its products.
"We want the products to communicate premium detailing but not to have anything unnecessary on the product design itself," White said.
"If you imagine a complicated coming together of a TV," he explained. "How do they come together in a way that delights the user when they start to unpack the product and use it from there."
The fourth principle looks to integrate new materials into the product.
"We spend a lot of time looking at combinations of materials or new uses of materials in products, such as the recent addition of leather," White said.
The collaboration with Georg Jensen is not the first time the two brands have worked together. In 2018, they teamed up on a design for a 4K UHD LED Android TV, which featured a polished steel TV stand and remote.
Philips TV & Sound is an arm of the electronics brand Philips, which designs and produces television and audio products.
The talk with White was produced as part of our collaboration with Philips TV & Sound for Virtual Design Festival.
About Virtual Design Festival
Virtual Design Festival runs from 15 April to 30 June 2020. It brings the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.