The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec


By Katie Deighton, Senior Reporter

September 6, 2018 | 3 min read

Panasonic Design’s dark but calming installation at the London Design Biennale encapsulates the brand’s refreshed approach to tech – one that connects less with 20th century consumerism and more with the Japanese approach to care and respect.

Currently on show at the biennale at Somerset House, Panasonic’s Kasa is a darkened room filled with stepping stones and beautifully crafted, flickering electronic lights. If a visitor treads on the stones too aggressively or quickly the illuminations flicker and die, yet a calm stroll through the room sees them continue to ‘burn’ bright.

The experience is a metaphor for the way consumers should treat their objects at home, explained Takehiro Ikeda, creative director of Panasonic Design.

“We are trying to demonstrate the new relationship between the object and the human being,” he told The Drum. “Interactions [with products] and the way we feel about them needs to be reconsidered in the future.”

Ikeda wants consumers to consider, “what are the kinds of things that you want to keep for longer periods? How do you want to treat your objects carefully?” This is in tension with the consumerist appetite for buying new stuff – a force that has largely driven the consumer electronics market throughout the last half century.

It’s interesting that a 100-year-old brand such as Panasonic should take this stand, particularly in an age of constant product launches from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

“People are now more sophisticated, more informed, [better] educated,” Ikeda explained. “So for us, as a big major brand, we need to take responsibility – and leadership – and start asking people: what kind of life do you want to live in? We believe that's not about buying new things but treating things that you love for a longer period.


“The Japanese certainly have this idea of treating things carefully, keeping them for life and fixing them when necessary. Kintsugi is a good example – if you break a dish you fix it instead of just buying a new one. And it's often that the one that's fixed which has more value than the original piece.”

Ikeda could not speak on the wider strategy behind bringing this approach to a global audience, however it’s one that Panasonic has been adopting for a while. Kasa was developed in partnership with Japanese craftspeople the tech brand's new design studio in Kyoto, however Ikeda, a former design strategist at Seymourpowell, is based in the company’s London Flux division.

The UK centre was designed to bridge the gap between marketing and product design while also maintaining conversation with designers in Kyoto. “

"The new HQ in Kyoto [was opened] to understand and digest the rich culture of Japan and demonstrate it in a more modern, understandable way,” said Ikeda.

Kasa is also symbolic of the conequential stronger synthesis between east and west. The creative director is happy that the installation feels thoroughly Japanese, without “talking about sushi or karate”.

“It's the right balance we want to deliver to people as a message,” he said.

Panasonic Marketing

Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

Cadbury unleashes the moo of its animatronic cow to promote bovine adoption promo

Cadbury Dairy Milk took to the ever-popular activation spot of the Southbank this week with an animatronic cow in order to promote its Buttons brand’s bovine adoption scheme.

Episode 2

‘Alexa, order me a cocktail’: Diageo and Dentsu Aegis test voice activation in the connected bar

Connected devices, the internet of things and voice activation: all innovations the modern marketer usually confines to the bounds of the home. But in Cannes this year Diageo has teamed up with Dentsu Aegis agencies Isobar and iProspect to bring these technologies into a new consumer market: the bar.

Episode 3

Welcome to the mind of Mark Denton: a look at the work in his Art Mart gallery

The extraordinary creative mind that is Mark Denton has his own art gallery – a grocery shop styled show in Shoreditch, London.

Episode 4

Inside the San Miguel Experience: why the brand is investing in immersive events

San Miguel launched its Rich List campaign earlier this year in a bid to celebrate individuals who have dedicated their lives to seeking our new experiences. Now the beer purveyor is turning to live events to help recruit applicants.

Episode 5

‘It’s not a political statement’: why Publicis is celebrating immigration through artwork

Visit Publicis’ London office on Baker Street throughout August and you’ll find yourself in the midst of an art gallery curated to celebrate the creative lifeblood that immigrants – and the children of immigrants – bring to British culture. However the show should not be read as a political statement, according to the agency’s chief executive.

Episode 6

New York's window displays reviewed by Deutsch head of design Roger Bova

Holiday window displays by big retailers make the season sparkle, with shoppers mesmerized by the shiny details that go into each exhibit.

Episode 7

Behind the scenes of EasyJet's last minute Christmas campaign

On a snowy December morning outside of Terminal One of Gatwick Airport, Santa was seen clambering up and down an escalator without a reindeer close by.

Episode 8

ABB on why its title sponsorship of Formula E is as much about brand reputation as awareness

Tech company ABB hopes its title sponsorship of Formula E will finally make it a global name. But the deal is also fuelled by an authentic support of the race’s underlying philosophy – in spite of its political and sporting controversies.

Episode 9

#TrumpBaby takes flight – and proves the brand-building case for crowdfunding

Today (13 July) saw a rotund orange pocket of air fly above London’s Parliament Square in protest of Donald Trump’s visit to the UK. The huge media interest in the event has proven that crowdfunding a creative idea can not only work but can build a solid brand for the project in the process.

More from Panasonic

View all