Following is an design interview with Larry Koo, as part of a product launch campaign for promoting the design of the Zenit Cinematic Speakers.
Q1. How is designing a home cinema speaker different from sporting goods you have designed in the past?
Larry: The design principles are the same, identifying product usage scenarios, user personas, and expressions of the product technologies. The fundamental difference is the context of use, technical parameters and the execution techniques. The intent for home cinema products is in-door used as opposed to sporting equipment, which is predominantly outdoor used. For designing outdoor performance products, weather resistant and durability is a must. On the other hand,acoustic performance and sound technologies are the core focus of designing home cinema products.On the level of technical execution,home cinema products are more focused on detail refinements. On the contrary, durability, lightweight and robustness are more considered in sporting good designs.
Q2. How do you think a design or the idea of a design can interact with people’s life?
Larry: Of course, “design for the human” is part of our core values. We feel “Design is about creating products and solutions that satisfy people's needs, empower them and make them happier. All of this while respecting the environment in which we live.”
The design of the Zenit speakers is to seamlessly integrate with our modern living habit, at the same time, to enhance our entertainment for movie and music.
Q3. What do you want people to feel having this sound system?
Larry: The design of the Philips Zenit home cinema system is a conventional 5.1 speaker system designed for modern living homes. A robust acoustic construction aesthetically complemented by honest natural material such as wood, aluminum and fabric to seamlessly integrate into a modern living space. The tapered body of the satellite speaker conveys elegance, slimness, and simplicity. For ease of use, a cable storage feature is implemented into the bottom of the satellite speakers and the rear speaker stands, with matching cable color and wall mount accessories to ensure finishing consistency.
Q4. And how did you turn that goal into this design?
Larry: Design execution must work seamlessly in parallel with acoustic, mechanical, and software design, and business leaders to ensure the product solution is successful in the market.Being aware of the latest trends and technologies of connected entertainment is essential.By understanding the impacts from different competencies, we are able to find a distinct product solution to offer better and more meaningful entertainment experiences
The positioning of Zenit speaker is to evolve a classic 5.1 speaker system so it can perform equally well for movie and music entertainment. Conventional Disc playback functions are replaced by connectivity features for ease of use.
Q5. Where did the inspiration for this design come from?
Larry: The design of the Zenit speaker is inspired by the combination of home interior design trends and the expression of immersive cinematic sound. To transition this inspiration into the product, we’ve used materials that fitted well with modern home interiors to convey the design for home intent.
The cabinet is wrapped fully in cloth to cover the speaker layout. The gesture of the one piece full cabinet wrapping is to suggesta wide sound projection, which is a more power method of articulating immersive sound instead of showing off each of the speaker cones.
Q6. Is there a particular reason in choosing wood as one of the product material?
Larry: Wood is prevalent in home interior, it adds an certain warm to the aesthetic and complements the home furnishing. The white ash wood grain is carefully chosen for its elegant grain and retains a color tone that work well with other materials and colors.
Q7. Will you agree if I describe this product design as simple in line, elegant in detail?
Larry: Yes of course. Simplicity elegance and distinctiveness have always been the key traits of our design DNA. However, designing a simple form is easier said than done. The intent of the Zenit cinematic speaker is to achieve a minimal and elegant form. The challenge was to ensure every detail on the design is refined and thoughtful.