This TV Doubles as a Transparent Display Case—Can Anything Be More Clever?

updated Apr 29, 2019
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Credit: Panasonic

Just when you thought you had the latest and greatest model of TV, a new design concept arrives on the tech scene and makes the 65-inch 4K UHD curved TV you own seem utterly unimpressive.  At least that’s the anticipated impact one can expect Panasonic’s conceptual transparent TV to have on consumers should it ever hit the market.

The design called “Vitrine” is a result of a collaboration between the Japanese electronics manufacturer and Swiss furniture brand VITRA. It made its debut at Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week, which is responsible for introducing us to edgy, innovative designs like 3D-printed chairs, fully flat-packed sofas, and more.

Upon first glance, Vitrine resembles a large glass pane encased in wood. As Panasonic explains, the transparent material is more than an eye-catching design element. Known as “XC-CSG01G,” the unique glass is “comprised of a high contrast light control film placed in between two sheets of glass, which when voltage is applied changes from the screen mode to the transparent mode, as well as XC-CSC01G-A1, the control box.”

Credit: Panasonic

During screen mode, images are projected from the rear onto the glass. It can also reproduce high-resolution images on the glass pane. During transparent mode, the TV screen can function as a “shop window,” displaying products, artwork, and sculptures. Additionally, several screens can be combined to make a single large screen.

“Vitrine converts from a passive object into a lively and dynamic element, from something meant to be seen into something meant to be watched,” Panasonic’s product designer Michael Shadovitz tells DesignBoom. 

“The model carefully balances between art and design,” adds Vitrine designer Daniel Rybakken, who collaborated with Shadovitz on the project. “As a screen, it no longer dictates its placement nor its role in the living space. The dominating large black surface is instead transformed into something that can highlight what’s behind, what’s displayed, or nothing at all.

After its Milan appearance, the Vitrine TV is slated to be displayed in Tokyo through the end of April.