Bulky and cumbersome CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions that occupied a place of pride in living rooms since the 1950s have quickly fallen out of favor in the twenty-first century as LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions boast sleek flat shapes and a clearer picture. One aspect of CRT televisions that brought them to be classified as “out-of-date” served as inspiration for Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. Instead of rejecting the form as passé, he modernized the gently curved exterior necessary to accommodate CRT technology. The housing of this portable television designed by Fukasawa for Plus Minus Zero is deliberately reminiscent of the curvature of a CRT TV, but it is dependent on the LCD technology at its center. Its small size and curving form call for a flat screen rather than a heavy CRT. The projection that typically extends out of the back of CRT televisions to accommodate the large tube, serves here as a housing for the LCD TV’s power chord and acts a stand to prop up the screen at the correct angle for viewing.

Creating unity between seemingly incompatible objects—both within individual designs and expansive spaces—is often the focus of Fukasawa’s work. His interiors are not defined by a cacophony of flashy objects that compete for attention, but rather a clean and simple aesthetic that pervades the room. Fukasawa’s designs, which include simplified appliances like a vertical toaster oven and a bulbous humidifier embodies his central design philosophy. He described his work for Plus Minus Zero with the distinction that “designing things that coexist together is natural. It’s not just about matching colors or shapes; it’s about designing the harmony between these devices and life.” [1]


[1] About ±0, http://en.plusminuszero.jp/about/


Chelsea Butkowski studies art history and communication at SUNY Geneseo. She worked as a Peter Krueger intern in the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department in summer 2014.

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