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NAD VISO Design Story

April 8, 2008


Industrial Design is becoming a more and more important consideration for consumers. Just like clothing fashions, the industrial design of a product expresses the personality of its owner. The way people interact with their electronic devices has also evolved over the years, and this, combined with new materials and processes, has opened new design possibilities.

Viso Design Story

NAD has always placed a strong emphasis on industrial design, creating one of the most recognizable 'looks' in the consumer electronics industry. This understated 'Bauhaus' form-follows-function design language has served the brand well, expressing the understated performance image of NAD perfectly.

The traditional NAD customer has been a hi-fi enthusiast that owns several pieces of hi-fi equipment, often from different manufacturers. A 'standardized' form factor has emerged over the years that allow for this concept of 'system building'. The resulting form factor is a box like structure with a control panel on the low and wide side. This simple 3D form is convenient and practical, allowing several units to be placed on shelves or stacked together in a compact space.

The popularity of the flat-panel TV has created a new requirement for an all-in-one component that can provide surround sound and simplified control of the expanded range of video and audio content. This new system architecture has created design challenges and opportunities. Rather than being stacked with other components in a cabinet, this new all-in-one component is far more likely to be placed on an open shelf below the flat panel TV.

The Design Brief for the VISO DVD Receivers directly addressed this new reality. Some key elements included the requirement for a sculptural form that could be displayed on an open shelf or table rather than hidden away in a cabinet. We wanted to move away from the 'box with knobs' form without becoming too idiosyncratic or impossible to place in a cabinet if desired. We still wanted to retain some of our traditional design cues to maintain brand identity, yet we wanted to enhance the form using texture and reflectivity to create greater visual excitement with just a touch of 'bling'. We also wanted a form that represented the power and refinement of our exclusive AV technology. The design should complement the flat panel TV and appear to be related. Finally, it must be able to be manufactured using current technology and still be affordable—in line with our value oriented market position.

David Farrage of DF-id submitted several compelling proposals and was awarded the contract for the industrial design. The concept finally chosen was referred to internally as the 'waterfall' because of the way the top cover flowed into the front panel using a broad graceful radius. This radius is repeated by the bottom cover creating a 'clasped hands' form, as though something precious and alive is contained within. To further emphasize the flow of the design the display window traverses the radius between the top and front planes of the form. Design cues from NAD's top of the range Masters Series can be seen in the arrangement of ventilation ports and the side panel fastener—elements that are both practical and decorative.

Working in cooperation with NAD's Director for Product Development and mechanical engineering team, the design went from the drawing board to 3D model to CAD drawing to production tooling over a period of several months. There were many challenges in bringing the designed form to production, yet the end result is remarkably close to the original concept, maintaining the dramatic 'waterfall' of the one piece top cover/front panel.

The final details of colour, texture and finish were painstakingly adjusted to maintain visual proportion and enhance the basic form. The high gloss bottom cover and diamond cut silver accent line boldly accentuate the waterfall theme and reflect the surrounding environment in much the same way as a pool of still water does.

VISO TWO Receiver

The design achievement has now been recognized in the world's leading design competition, the reddot awards, with a category win for best product design in the consumer electronics category. This highly competitive annual competition drew 3,203 entries from 51 countries pitting the world's top designers and brands against one another.

Comments (1)

2010-08-17 12:25
Victor - Norway

The VISO design would fit my livingroom perfectly, but I would prefer to have a blue-ray player. Will you ever make a VISO blue-ray-receiver?

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