The pursuit of technological excellence and superior design | ICT Business | TechBuzz

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Long-standing design director at TP Vision Rod Whiteholder of the global license for Philips TV & Sound products, points out to that the trends in society that come from the world of furniture and interiors, together with significant shifts in social behavior that can be characterized as “on the move”, are a constant source of inspiration for what what we do.

Under his design baton, prestigious awards were presented to this product category, and through cooperation with other renowned brands, the technical performance of the products themselves was improved. Where he gets his inspiration from, how they plan to improve the distinctive features of Philips TVs and how much role the choice of materials plays in the design process, are just some of the topics we discussed with this creative visionary who is at the head of the TP Vision design team.

You have held the position of design director for many years. What would you highlight as your greatest career achievement?

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Certainly, being part of a comprehensive process that includes changing the perception of the brand in the eyes of consumers and the successful positioning of our “European design” over the last ten years has been extremely inspiring and motivating. Initially with TV, and now for the past few years with the audio product category, we have reimagined what the Philips brand can be in providing premium products.

How does your design represent what Philips TV & Sound is in terms of technology?

We deliver high-end technological products, and the designer’s job is to convey this through a product experience that both confirms our promise of quality and delights the user’s senses.

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Every year, Philips TV & Sound puts new product models on the market. What differentiates the new products, either in terms of technology or design, from the competition?

Marketing of consumer electronics occupies a large part of the annual calendar. For successful sales and competitiveness in the market, it is necessary to offer certain product specifications. Philips as a brand strives for excellence and brings more experiential features. One of these features is Ambilight, a function that raises the viewing experience to a whole new level. Next, we cooperate with prestigious partners from the world of European design, thus providing our customers with top design and quality materials, such as European wool, textiles and leather. All of the above affects a pleasant viewing experience, as well as holding it in your hand. In the end, I would say that what distinguishes Philips TV and audio products from others is precisely the level of representation of fine details in the final product itself.

What inspires you in your creative expression and what details do you pay great attention to when designing a new product?

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Trends in society that come from the world of furniture and interiors, together with significant shifts in social behavior that can be characterized as “on the move”, are a constant source of inspiration for what we do. As a team, we are always looking for innovative solutions, that is, the materials we use for our products with the aim of improving the quality of the product itself, as well as better enjoyment of the product itself.

One of the distinctive features of Philips TVs is Ambilight. How has it developed over the years and how is it planned to improve in the future?

As I mentioned, Ambilight is a distinctive feature of Philips TVs, and so far it has become a kind of synonym for our televisions. We have noticed that customers who once decide to buy an Ambilight TV tend to buy the next TV with the same feature. In our portfolio, you can find TVs with three-sided ambient lighting, while some premium products have four-sided ones. Considering that the bezels of the TV have become negligible, the spread of light from the screen to the wall has become quite seamless. Also, TVs are getting bigger on average and people are willing to buy bigger screens, resulting in more consumers mounting their TVs on the wall. It is also possible to illuminate the wall with ambient lighting from a fixed distance. We will focus on this area in the future as well.

Philips TV & Sound has won the prestigious Red Dot design award several times. What does such a globally established recognition mean for you on a professional, but also on a personal level?

In addition to the Red Dot award, we are also winners of the iF Design award, which in itself are exceptional achievements and very important professional recognition for our work. Of course, I personally, as well as the entire design team, as well as TP Vision, are extremely proud of the fact that the profession recognized the quality and meaningful design of our products. I conduct an annual review of award-winning designs over the years so that I can communicate everything we have achieved as a team, but also get an insight into how a certain product category has developed over the years and what was relevant in a certain period.

It is known that you have been collaborating with established designer and lifestyle brands for the past few years. Can you single out some products from the Philips TV & Sound range that are the product of collaboration and what makes them stand out compared to others?

The OLED TV series leaves very little room for the volume that good sound requires, so we’ve made the decision to work with the best in the industry when it comes to sound quality. Consequently, Bowers&Wilkins has been our TV audio partner for over five years. Through joint collaboration and their expertise in acoustic engineering, we created a design that led us to multiple award-winning televisions, such as the current OLED986 and OLED936. In addition, we also work with the famous textile company Kvadrat, but the Bowers projects took it a step further, so now we design fabrics that fit into the modern interiors of Kvadrat according to the acoustic standards of Bowers&Wilkins. In recent years, there has been a visible increase in home gaming, so we collaborated with our partners on the Philips Momentum Gaming monitor. More precisely, we incorporated the Bowers&Wilkins sound solution into the fabric of Kvadrat. Muirhead is another long-term materials partner that we work with to create beautiful skins for our remotes, headphones and audio products.

Do you pay a lot of attention to the choice of materials in the product design process?

The choice of materials is the core of our design process. The innovative use of materials to create new archetypes is one of the four postulates of our design that support the positioning of the “European design” business philosophy. Related to this is our aspiration to use sustainable materials. In the last few years we have made significant strides in using real wool fabric, carbon neutral leather and recyclable metals as much as possible. Where we want to be in the next 12-18 months will further demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.

Can we predict what the future holds in terms of design trends? Which Philips TV and sound elements will be retained in the coming years?

I strongly believe that by observing experimental exhibits at key global events, such as Salone del Mobile for aesthetic changes and CES for technology startups, we will be able to predict to a large extent what will be in stores two to three years from now. Our job is to filter what currently meets the consumer’s needs and translate that need into appropriate proposals for our brand.

It is evident from your design that you prefer a clean and minimalist style. Do you come into contact with elements of other styles in your creative work?

The best example of this is the series of TV, audio and related products on which we collaborated with the Danish designer brand Georg Jensen and the world-famous Danish textile company Kvadrat. The creation of such products was more driven by emotions in order to provide customers with objects that they want to have in their everyday lives, i.e. products that are also the object of their kind of desire.

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