Traditional crafts an inspiration for next-generation appliances
The concept that came out of the discussions was “(creating) value through experience that impacts memories and the five senses.”
What lies behind this concept is the idea that a feeling of nostalgia is generally based on an experience obtained through the five senses, and if a product can evoke such a memory and thus create a sense of comfort, it would be cherished as an item that adds depth and color to people’s lives.
About 10 items have been created out of these efforts so far.
One of them is a wooden bucket that continuously circulates water (to cool food such as fruits and vegetables) via a non-contact electricity supply through induction heating. It might evoke a primal image of fresh crops cooling in a clear stream.
Another item is an incense burner with metallic mesh featuring a battery heat source and titanium. The burner emits a pleasant aroma when it is lifted.
Fascination with products that appeal to the five senses appears to be universal. Panasonic exhibited this series of products at Milano Salone, an international furniture trade fair, in 2017 and the company was presented with a best storytelling award.
Evolving the concept further, the development of the second batch of products is underway.
A light that simulates glowing embers is actualized with conductive bamboo charcoal and electric control technology. It creates a mystical, peaceful moment as if one has gazed deeply at a blazing campfire.
Another product, which is made with a weaving technique for bamboo baskets, is a large fan that produces an enjoyable breeze.
Panasonic believes, “There would be a value in the experiences that would evoke primitive senses and memories engraved on one’s body and soul such as fire, wind and light, leading to spiritual enrichment.”
It’s not necessarily the case that all ideas will be turned into products. Obsessing too much over technology and design could compromise development concepts, which are supposed to add color to and further enrich people’s lives.
“I think it’s important to feature technology implicitly in a product without losing the original point,” Nakagawa said.
He added, “Looking back, we have seriously considered product ideas that sounded and looked funny,” citing a tea whisk unified with an electric shaver that vibrates at high speed.
Innovation is set to happen through an integration of talented individuals.
Nakagawa noted: “ Perfunctory discussions do not produce any ideas. You can only have honest conversations when you take the time to understand each other.”
A “chemical reaction” is occurring using tradition as a catalyst. This could create a new genre of products in the field of electrical home appliances, possibly transforming people’s lives.