Televisions were once built more like furniture than anything else, expected to fit into a home’s decor for decades. But in more recent times, the attention has shifted to the more gadgety aspects of a TV, with new models constantly being pushed as consumer upgrades based upon new tech “innovations”: HD Ready. HD Capable. Full HD. 3D. 4K. LED. Plasma. OLED. IGZO. As a consequence, television design has suffered.
Samsung has been as guilty of this as anyone else, but lately, they’ve been trying to give something back. Following a Yves Behar collaboration earlier this year, Samsung is now teaming up with French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to try to bring beautiful design back to televisions. Together, they have created the Serif, an elegant new flat-screen with a beautiful I-shaped silhouette.
It’s seemingly an odd collaboration, as Studio Bourollec has never designed a piece of technology before and Samsung is rarely concerned with doing something totally new. But it’s impossible to argue with the design: it feels like the HDTV that the Eameses or Gropiuses would have chosen to put in their homes.
Coming in three colors–white, dark blue, and red–and ranging in size from 21- to 40-inches, the Serif looks as good off as it does on, embracing an almost sculptural quality. Thanks to a woven fabric back cover, the usual rat king of cables that tether most televisions to our media systems is deftly hidden away, which helps preserve its presence as a standalone object of design lust. But it’s also flexible: it’s just at home on a wall or a shelf as it is on the floor (thanks to the four screw-on legs that are included).
But the nice design touches extend to the actual television aspects of the Serif as well. The Bourollec brothers helped develop the user interface, which includes a start screen called “curtain mode”: a “silent, abstract impression of the TV screen contents.” In other words, when you turn it on, the Serif comes to life gently, without the loud, spinning logos of other TVs.
A quick poll amongst Co.Design’s editorial bullpen quickly reached a consensus on the Serif: this is the TV we all want. It’s small, self-sufficient, and impeccably minimalist, perfect for any well-designed home. And the thing is, there’s no reason you shouldn’t want this, because while TVs keep on getting new features and functionality, most people don’t upgrade them as frequently as a smartphone. Chances are, the TV you pick is one you’ll have in your house for the next ten years.
The Serif will go on sale in the U.K., France, Sweden, and Denmark starting November 2, for a still unannounced price.