During my long-stay in Tokyo while putting together this CMF report, I’m struck by how technology is so seamlessly integrated into everyday life in Japan!

Known for their attention to details, “invisible tech” from Japan isn’t about flashing their high-tech features, but rather to evoke a sense of appreciation. From automatic water filters to backlit icons that disappear after washer is turned off, every little detail is carefully thought through and work well without disrupting our daily routines.

In this report, we will look at backlit CMF solutions from the 3Deco Tech show. Join me to explore these invisible tech that sit perfectly in the crossroad of design and functionality!

Unwrap CMF: CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces (2024-02) (1141 downloads )

Backlit Wooden Pattern

By applying decorative films on top, some even with tactility and 3D texture, PMMA or PC base materials are added with realistic wood patterns. And then, through thermoforming, also known as vacuum forming or TOM (Three-dimension Overlay Method), these PMMA or PC parts can take on diverse shapes and forms, adding versatility to their application.

Wood-pattern backlit panels offer a unique blend of aesthetics and functionality. Primarily utilized as automobile panels, these wood-patterned components are prized for their ability to integrate seamlessly into vehicle designs and allow backlit icons and signals to illuminate with clarity and precision.

To learn more, visit Asano Lab and Nikken‘s websites for further details and inspirations!

Download report for full content: CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces

Backlit wooden pattern example by Asano Lab

Wood Patterns with Backlit Screens

One common application is incorporating a hidden screen beneath the wooden surface. At first glance, when the light is off, it appears as a regular wood pattern, blending with the surroundings. And when the screen behind illuminates, the vibrant colors and lights shine through the surface pattern, revealing the underlying technology.

Imagine television screens seamlessly integrated into living spaces. When the screen is off, the wooden surface maintains its natural aesthetic, harmonizing with the overall décor, providing functionality without compromising the visual appeal of the wooden interior. This marriage of wood patterns and backlit screens elevates the design possibilities for modern spaces.

To learn more, visit Nakanuma and Fujiko’s websites for further details and inspirations!

Download report for full content: CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces

Wood patterns example with backlit screen by Nakanuma

Backlit Textile

Backlit textiles offer versatile applications across a range of settings, particularly in home interiors where fabric-based products dominate, or in automobile interiors where leather is frequently used.

In examples where actual textiles aren’t used, printing and topcoat can replicate the tactility and grain patterns of leather. However, to truly capture the authenticity of fabric, processes such as heat press and injection molding are necessary to incorporate layers of genuine textile material. These processes enable the surface materials to be molded to the desired shapes.

To learn more, visit Art & Tech and Meieisha’s websites for further details and inspirations!

Download report for full content: CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces

Backlit textile example by Art & Tech
Backlit textile example by Meieisha

Backlit Metallic Surface

Metal is commonly perceived as a solid material without transparency. And therefore, the incorporation of backlit functionality into metallic surfaces offers a strikingly futuristic aesthetic. This approach is useful to enhance the appeal of larger home appliances, especially those crafted from premium-tier metal or metallic materials.

Achieving the desired metallic effect can be accomplished through a variety of methods depending on the supplier’s strengths and capabilities. Techniques such as metallic film application, printing, and the Three-dimension Overlay Method (TOM) are examples of approaches used to achieve this look.

To learn more, visit Denka, Nakanuma, and Nikken‘s websites for further details and inspirations!

Download report for full content: CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces

Backlit metallic surface example by Denka
Backlit metallic surface example by Nakanuma

Download CMF Report on Backlit Surfaces

Problem-solving ??? ?????. Former head of CMF at Motorola. A New York-based and world-traveling Design Consultant with over 13 years of specialty in CMF Design. 高雄囡仔,前摩托羅拉CMF設計團隊負責人,目前定居於紐約並遊牧世界,任自由撰稿人兼CMF設計顧問,持續投入在CMF設計的科普推廣,並為WGSN及羅技等公司提供CMF專案支持或諮詢服務。

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