John Tree
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Audio-visual system

John Tree is a London based product designer

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Sony - Audio Visual system

The first time Jasper Morrison and I worked together was in 1998, while I was based in Sony’s European Design Centre. We developed a family of audio-visual products that included a television, an audio system and speakers, along with furniture pieces that could be used individually or combined to create an entire suite.

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We proposed a distinctive, simple and reassuring technical language that worked well across the entire range. The audio system comprised an amplifier and a separate media unit housing CD and MiniDisk players and a radio. An aluminium foot on the audio units allowed them to be used vertically as well as horizontally. This detail was carried over to the television, and used to lighten its appearance by slightly floating it off the surface it was positioned on.

We also designed a larger foot for the television to allow it to be placed directly on the floor, incorporating a support for a video unit. This video player also worked with the audio system.

Although this was a conceptual project, we designed all the products to fit existing mechanical constraints, working closely with the relevant company departments. Each department tended to have its own, very different plans, schedules and design strategies; asking them to synchronise and commit to a joint venture of this scale proved to be a leap too far, which is why this project never reached the marketplace.

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