Piano-forte - Panasonic at Salone del Mobile

Piano-forte: Panasonic at Salone del Mobile

Panasonic created a spectacular interactive installation for the Salone del Mobile 2011. Designed by Ferruccio Laviani, it features lighting systems that invite human interaction to create a shared and responsive setting of physical and mental appeal. The new LED products, OLED panels, spotlights and spatial sensors are the fruit of intensive research into energy sustainability; they connect the conscious and the unconscious, the senses and technology, thus leading to a new spatial dimension of lighting control with unlimited possibilities of intensity modulation.

Piano-forte, this year's theme, was inspired by the musical concept of sound, with its soft and loud (piano and forte) tones, delicate touches and intense accents. The electrical items on display use subtleties of lighting to create a range of ambiences as diverse as the tonal variations of piano melodies. The precise digital control perfected by Panasonic offers everyone the chance to compose a personal symphony of lights to suit any mood by exploiting the immense range of available lighting effects.

The visitor plays an active part in Laviani's installation, with perceptions stimulated by the presence of symbolic elements of the collective unconscious, such as the mandala - not just a design of spiritual and ritual significance but also a universal archetype unconstrained by space, time or cultures; it has even been suggested that physics might employ similar geometric forms in explaining the creation of the universe. The mandala, a symbol of an earlier order, can be used to represent something that is yet to exist, or a journey of initiation towards growth - the journey that technology faces in its ceaseless pursuit of innovation. The mental image forms and quickly fades, just as the OLED panel's surface instantly lighting up when power is applied, while becoming almost transparent when the power is cut.

In keeping with the various innovative projects mounted by (standard)3 in Italy since 2008, electrical items designed by the Japanese company are at the heart of the exhibition, which consists of individual displays on three levels of the Minguzzi Museum. Visitors can interact and experiment with the innovatory products and, in Laviani's words, "experience them at first hand and thus understand them better." He has arranged them in a coordinated trail of discoveries that offers a new interpretation of technology, employing both playful irony and images linked to spirituality. Its common thread is the idea of interaction as a means to a fuller understanding of the functionality of a device, and perhaps the possibility of applying or incorporating it in future projects.

All the products exhibit the compactness of form that is the hallmark of elegant and essential design, a prerequisite for ease of use and, in particular, ease of maintenance. Efficient low-energy devices, easily assembled and dismantled, deliver a high level of illumination, reacting with intuitive functionality to "emotional" aspects of the environment, even to the extent of adjusting colour tones without the need for remote control panels. Advanced technology becomes reality in the 3D Image Sensor, which responds to movement to keep count of the number of people present and also provides various applications for games, digital communications and security equipment.