Create New Value

Product Development Stories

Washer Dryer/Washer Design

As of Apr. 2022

Vol.1The act of subtracting to add value,
pursuit of a premium that is uniquely Japanese.

Designers of Washer Dryer/Washer: Atsushi Ishibashi and Masato Ninomiya
Product Design Department, Global Center for Social Innovation - Tokyo, Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd.

What was the starting point in the latest design change?

Ishibashi: I searched for photos of washing machines that are actually in use. I felt that they didn’t match the interior decor. That discovery was the start of our design project.
Our new model is equipped with Wind Iron Technology. Putting that into a small body to fit under a worksurface involved a lot of technical difficulty, and the result turned out to be spectacular. I wanted a symbolic design that shows its capabilities just by looking at it. Our idea was to come up with a design that increases "spatial value."

We haven’t come across that term. Please tell us more about "spatial value."

Ishibashi:In other words, it refers to how the washing machine blends with the interior decor. It is really interior decor of a higher quality. The design for interior decor and furniture is based around form established on a vertical/horizontal base and matte texture. Using this rule to improve the spatial attractiveness, we refer to the design of our new washing machine as an increase in spatial value.

Ninomiya:The key point is whether introducing a sophisticated space based on this design will create a space that is more attractive than when the product is not there. The space must be more attractive than before the product was there.
We have added interior decor quality to the value of the washing machine. In addition to its value as a tool, we have created this new value.

Is it a way of pursuing beauty with a Japanese style?

Ishibashi:The important feature of Hitachi design is simplicity that keeps all unnecessary elements to a minimum. Since the concept of beauty is referred to in Japan as the art of subtracting, you may be right. For Hitachi, we simply wanted to come up with a refined design concept, in an effort to redefine "the global standard for washing machines."

Ninomiya:At any rate, we thought that it was important to have a product that is symbolic and iconic, trimming down the design to "Circle and Square". Using the concept of subtraction, we were able to design an impressive washing machine. In our combined efforts to make a design so simple, we think we have achieved a design that will stay in people’s memory, one that emphasises its quality as a front loading washing machine with outstanding performance.

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