Verena Fulde

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Does technology actually have to look like technology?

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Why are cars an expression of a certain attitude towards life, but my television set is not? The automobile has always been more than just four wheels and an engine. It is an expression of a certain attitude towards life. The buyer of an Austin Martin wants to express something different than a Renault driver, for example. Apple has shown that this recharging of a technical product does not only lead to success with cars. Good design is one - if not the decisive factor in winning over customers.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

Unfortunately, this insight has not yet really caught on. In my living room, for example, technology is usually still more of an aesthetic interference factor. There is little to see or feel of a homely digital lifestyle here.

But that doesn't have to be the case, my colleagues in the design department under the direction of Monica Dalla Riva thought and wanted to carry out design studies using the example of the new Smart Speaker Mini. Their basic idea was to design the smooth surfaces of the loudspeaker using printable foils.

Different lifestyles

What could be more obvious than to get support from Italy, the great design nation? Specifically involved were students from the Milan University of Design (Politecnico di Milano), various studios, as well as fashion designers and artists of the Milan avant-garde*.

In a multi-stage workshop, the students identified different lifestyles of the last decades. Based on this, they created contemporary interpretations of design and lifestyle and gave their visions of the Smart Speaker Mini a contemporary look.

In their interpretation of the Smart Speaker Mini, the designers and artists relied on an interplay of natural materials and modern technology and thus showed how the digital lifestyle can be harmoniously integrated into the home. Inspired by this they even created an "Accessory Collection" with cushions and bags.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

What I am particularly pleased about is that our customers also benefit from the designers' advance. These three favorites from a customer survey that was initiated specifically for this purpose will be available in Telekom shops in Germany since mid of June: anthracite, waves and cubes. 

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

All the designs are currently on display - at least for Telekom employees in Bonn - in an exhibition in the Experience Hub in the foyer of the headquarters. For all those who are not able to stop by, these films provide insights:

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

Smart Speaker Mini in a stylish look.

I was particularly taken with the colorful models. I wonder if I can swindle a design foil from my design colleagues for a coffee?

* MMG Studio, Vittorio Linfante, Silvia Gherra Roberta Ricciuti, Mekre Adais, Sartoria Vico, Dafne Boggeri, Rina Gerbelle, Wanda Jelmini (WandaMilleMille) und Endelea. 

Telekom Design Gallery

Telekom Design Gallery – Experience innovation and the future

The Telekom Design Gallery is Deutsche Telekom's future and innovation forum. It provides a glimpse into life in the digitally connected world of tomorrow.