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An architectural point of view of PlayStation 5 console design

Published: 15:22, 20 June 2020
Updated: 19:45, 20 June 2020
A merged screenshot from the Dancing house and the new Playstation 5 console
Dancing House - PlayStation 5

The new PlayStation 5 console has raised many discussions over its design and given that some of the AltChar staff are well versed in architecture, we've prepared an in-depth analysis from an architectural standpoint.

Sony's recent reveal of the PlayStation 5 console has pretty much divided the community when it comes to the design.

This did not exactly come as a surprise considering that the design largely deviates from the prevailing trend of adapting this and similar products to the interior of the room.

When we look at some recent Apple or Google home devices, we can clearly feel the designers' intention to create products which are almost invisible in the average home, focusing more on its function.

On the other hand, you are sure to have a hard time finding an average home where the new PlayStation 5 won't steal the spotlight once it drops.

Whether someone likes the console's look depends mostly on their personal attitude towards that type of device. While an important part of the interior for some; for others it is merely a portal to the virtual world which, as far as they are concerned, can be hidden in the drawer below the TV.

The three main terms to describe this almost avant-garde design are:

  • Neo-futurism
  • Contrast
  • Expressive

AltChar Merged s screenshot from Heydar aliyev center and PS5 console Heydar Aliyev Center - PlayStation 5

"Futuristic" is probably the word most people would use to define the device and rightly so, considering that all of its features have already made an appearance in neo-futuristic architecture, at least in a similar shape or form.

Contrast being one of the best methods to attract attention was evidently key to Sony's approach while making this product. It is strongly present in two primary volumes that this console can be divided into: the inner black part and the outer white shell.

Contrast is reflected in all three main aspects of this design:

  • Colour
  • Shape
  • Material

The black-and-white combination is probably one of the most common types of contrast which can attract attention in a very subtle way without aggressively offending the viewer's field of vision.

The shape is the one characteristic that probably defines this product the most though. The inner part has predominantly straight lines that are in complete contrast to the organic outer shell. The black part has very slight transitions on the edges that give a dose of much-needed intimacy, almost hiding what is "under the hood".

On the other side, the outer shell edges seem very sharp and aggressive which gives this console a rather dynamic and electrifying vibe.

AltChar A sketchup model of the PlayStation 5 console PlayStation 5 disassembled into simple volumes

If we take, for example, one of the most popular buildings of deconstructivism - the Dancing House by architect Frank Gehry, we can see some similarities when it comes to shaping. Both compositions have a relatively clear, strict, and concise base to which organic forms have been added to. 

Even though they don't seem to go hand in hand with each other at the first glance - combining them resulted in a very interesting model with perfect dynamical balance.

Just like the presence of white makes the colour black even more intense, the dynamic of the organic shells becomes even more playful when located near the static middle part.

The contrast in the material between these two volumes is somewhat hidden and cannot be seen the first time you look at it. However, in the picture below, you can clearly see the difference in the finishing touch between the smooth black surface and its perpendicularly positioned white counterpart.

Sony Screenshot from Sony's PS5 console reveal video Contrast in material

Stone and decorative light, a very common combination in architecture, is also applied to a certain extent. Blue light spreads over the white surface, emphasizing its roughness and thus creating additional dynamics by playing with shadows on a very small scale.

While we know that the road to the final look probably took a very long time, looking at the design and the time it was revealed - we can’t help but get the feeling that Sony took the previously revealed Xbox, reshaped it into the black part it has and then added the wing-like shell to make a proud “We are Sony PlayStation” statement.

Whether you like it or not, one thing is for sure - the new PlayStation 5 console is different from everything we've seen in the gaming world so far.

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