During the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Samsung took center stage with a string of innovative products. Among the products that captured the greatest interest was our line of large-screen TVs of truly amazing design.
Today, we are going to share with you some behind-the-scene stories regarding the design process of our flagship smart TV – ES9000. The ES9000 boasts a whopping 75-inch screen in a super ultra slim design that comes with a bezel that is just 7.9 millimeters thin. Putting aside all the amazing smart TV features it comes with or the simply exceptional viewing experience, its luxurious design itself makes the ES9000 a true work of art.
It’s anyone’s guess how much effort has been put into developing this beautiful TV, so our colleagues at Samsung Tomorrow, Samsung Electronics’ official blog, talked to the very designers of the ES9000!
"Top quality, sophisticated design and overwhelming size are all basic features of a luxury TV. However, customers of luxury TVs look for products that are beyond the basics. They don’t settle for a product, but demand the best one. It’s more than a matter of quality, but that of class. And we thought we should look for that key to class in the very essence of a TV." (Yunje Kang, Vice President, Design Group)
Based on this principle, they came up with the concept of 'One Design,' which left little room for anything else beside the screen itself. Anything beyond the screen or the space of the living room that surrounded it seemed unnecessary. This has naturally led to the design of virtually no bezel.
"We wanted to create something that was barely visible when watching the screen, but that only slightly exposed itself as a thin band or light when the viewer momentarily averted his gaze." (Euiseok Kim, Principal Designer, Visual Display Business, Design Group)
"We focused on luxury watches. Luxury watches, created through elaborate refinement of metal, have been loved for decades for their timeless designs based on the color of cooper. The color copper is neither light nor boring. It also carries a sense of dignity. We decided to extract a color that best demonstrates the ES9000’s classiness from the color copper." (Hee-Bong Kim, Senior Designer, Visual Display Business, Design Group)
During 24,000 hours of brainstorming and after 15,000 pieces of design drawings, the color copper changed to gold, pink gold, and champagne. But it was difficult to create a single color that would embody the envisioned sophistication of the ES9000.
"No one was willing to settle for just any color. Every one of us was very strict with ourselves in determining the perfect color for the ES9000. But, who said creating a perfect premium product was going to be easy?" (Euiseok Kim, Principal Designer, Design Group)
While it usually takes between 40 to 50 sample pieces to determine a design, it took hundreds for the ES9000 design team to decide on the color. They created more than 10 75-inch mock-ups. Thus was born the color no one has ever defined – Rose Gold.
As the design direction became clearer, the development team got busier. Of the overall production process including metal polishing for high glossiness, immersion in plating tanks, and application of the color Rose Gold, the team was most concerned about the plating process.
Unlike competitor products that created individual pieces of the frame and connected it after processing, a single frame was to be produced for the ES9000. But there was no plating bath customized for a TV 1.7 meters tall and 1 meter wide.
"If we had taken the conventional approach, we would have looked for the most cost-efficient solution. But with the ES9000, we only focused on meeting the goals we set out to achieve with the product. There were considerable risks such as investment costs, a new production line and unfamiliar processes. But we had a strong desire to take on the risks to open up an entirely new market segment with the new product." (Yoonsoo Kim, Principal Designer, Design Group)
So, the development team adopted a new production line automating everything from polishing. It was difficult to ensure quality through the conventional method of manually smoothing out rough edges and creating a glossy finish. New plating tanks were created. The ES9000 slowly began to take shape, fueled by the collective desire to attain premium perfection.
"Someone once asked whether it would be a burden to choose an innovative design and color while creating an elaborate development process that requires the details of a handcrafted item. From the initial development phase, we knew that the ES9000 would be a different product class compared with existing smart TVs. This is what made it interesting and the goal of creating a premium Samsung TV design was very exciting." (Hee-Bong Kim, Senior Designer, Design Group)
"We wanted to compete with truly luxury products. It was a whole different game from the previous competitions over the size, resolution and timing of market release. We wanted to create a luxury product that captivates customers and competes with other luxury goods. The ES9000 created a new rule for competition among large TVs." (Euiseok Kim, Principal Designer, Design Group)
The Samsung TV design goes beyond technology and the balance of reason and emotion. It creates an emotional connection between the product and the customer, and has evolved toward creating greater human-centered value.
Starting from the initial design phase, colleagues from marketing, design and development came together to develop the ES9000. Results of extensive research indicated that potential ES9000 customers looked for unique products and were interested in culture, leisure and art. In the end, the team merged the design and technology elements of the product, transforming the TV into a piece of work that beautifully blended into its surrounding – whose existence itself reflected the customer’s class.
"They say that the best innovation is to create a product that everybody wants to buy, but this didn’t apply to the ES9000. The ES9000 sets a new standard for how high of a class can be achieved with a Samsung Smart TV. This class and quality can be defined by differentiated value, design, the capacity to communicate with customers and our worker’s spirit of craftsmanship. Together, these factors form the DNA of Samsung’s ability to create leading products and the ES9000 is the very product of this DNA." (Yunje Kang, Vice President, Design Group)
Before, we let you go, here is a short video clip on how the ES9000 Smart TV was created and you can find more videos along with other details by clicking the following links to Samsung Tomorrow: