Gavin Ivester, the VP of Design at Bang & Olufsen talks to Gulf News tabloid about how design, tech and awareness are guiding both design consumers and brands.
How do you think the current crisis has or can inspire designers to think and do differently and if so, how do you feel the attitudes towards what is created and why, will shift?
The pandemic has affected everyone deeply. We’ll need time to recover, but I’m optimistic that we have the opportunity to have enter a new renaissance because of the perspective we’re gaining. We have a greater appreciation for the effect of our actions on the well-being of others.
We’re rediscovering simple pleasures like family, food and home. It’s natural that some focus has shifted toward the home environment. It’s truly where we live now. Life lived in your own home is different, especially if you’re not entertaining guests, because personal image isn’t as much the focus.
Comfort has become more important. With the greater appreciation of the impact of our choices, I expect more emphasis on sustainability, well-being, quality and longevity. In services, more of a DIY approach will be a natural outcome.
How do you feel the values of the consumer might change?
With personal image de-emphasised and a greater focus on family, health and well-being seem likely to become more valued. And along with a more balanced point of view, there’s a sense of greater patience. I expect we’ll see less expectation of immediate gratification and more of a pull towards quality and longevity in the products with which we choose to surround ourselves.
With a heightened awareness of how our actions affect others, we believe that throwaway products will lose appeal and attention will turn toward sustainability and integrity. The definition of luxury has shifted. It’s difficult to feel great about a product if you don’t feel good about its effect on the world.
As a brand that connects design with tech and the interiors, how do you feel the crisis will evolve spaces — be it home or office?
Daily life at home has become a much more full-spectrum experience. It’s different for everyone, of course, but many of us are working at home, exercising at home and staying home for entertainment.
Rather than just a base where we sleep, do laundry and eat takeout, the home now needs to match or improve upon the experiences we have at the office, in school, at a restaurant, or in a theatre. It seems unlikely we’ll go all the way back to work life the way it was before, so office spaces and the ways we work will evolve to enhance the parts of work that can’t happen online.
Concepts of the ‘home’ are changing too. Designers and brands will have to deliver a higher level of versatility. Products will be expected to have more than one life — whether that’s a screen that can be used for both entertainment and work, or using sound as a way to connect spaces and control noise.
We are all aware of your deep investment in tech advancements. Could you shed some light on the company’s commitment to design?
There’s a calm, confident personality about Bang & Olufsen that comes from truly delivering on performance, and investing in exceptional craftsmanship. People need inspiration to truly thrive, and many of us get that from art. Specifically from music, film, and design. Human creativity is what drives solutions to the world’s problems, and it creates joy — and that is what we really strive to achieve.
For example, with Beovision Harmony, we set out to create the best-sounding TV ever, with performance that can handle anything and capture the most hushed dialogues to truly deliver emotion to the audience. We also gather insights from customers about the daily experience of living with our products.
For example, in recent research, we realised that people love the size and picture quality of modern screens, but when the TV is off, it visually disrupts interior design. So we developed an automation system that makes made Harmony shrink when you’re not using it for TV and movies. Design is about providing solutions.