Hasselblad to Go High-End Designer? Open New Italian Design Centre

Hasselblad to Go High-End Designer? Open New Italian Design Centre

We all are quite aware that Hasselblad is the Ferrarri or cameras. Or maybe Bently or Lamborghini. I don't know, something expensive. But did you ever think of them as the Gucci of cameras? Today Hasselblad announced that they are opening a new design centre in Italy, with its base close to Venice and the Italian fashion industry. The move will implement Hasselblad's new strategy to gain market share in new consumer segments with products that boast exceptional design and engineering.

The location was selected because, as Hasselblad Chairman and CEO Dr. Larry Hansen said, "The region we have chosen for this new centre of design excellence is home to many high-tech manufacturers, including those working in the watch, high end automobile and aerospace industries." Not really the first industries to come to mind when I heard "Italian Designer." Though Italian automobiles tend to rock and are some of the most expensive in the world, I don't think of them as "designer."

Interesting to note, the first Hasselblad product designed in Italy is Lunar, the company's luxury mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera, launched at Photokina. You know, the camera that uses carbon fiber, titanium, wood, leather, and other precious metals? The camera that has taken a rather uncharacteristic level of flack from camera enthusiasts the world over because it's being seen as a souped up Sony NEX ILC? Interesting direction, Hasselblad. I think people care more about your core competencies right now (like the H5D), but we'll see where this goes.

What I found to be the most interesting re-confirmation is that Hasselblad also said that it is also planning to build a new DSLR, a new compact camera, and its own line of accessories, bags and tripods (none of which any of us can likely afford).

Below, check out some of the released images from the Design Centre that are actually quite pleasant to look at.

It appears that Hasselblad is really trying to branch out, and in places that there is currently no real competition. Such a move is a bold strategy for any company in any industry. It's untested waters, and there is always a risk associated with such a decision. What do you think of their new direction? Let us know in the comments below.

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Adam Cross's picture

If they're going to move into DSLR territory it'll be very interesting to see how affordable they make their products - unless they go the Leica S2 route - make it full frame and keep it around $5,000 - the D4 / 1D X kind-of market

Jaron Schneider's picture

I can't see them coming that low, as much as I may want that. Much like with Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Chanel, the price reflects the brand name, and the name Hasselblad carries a couple grand by itself (just look at the Lunar). They're not going to undercut their own brand, unless they go the "Michael: By Michael Kors" route and make a lower-priced line. 

Yes. I know fashion. No. I'm not proud of it. 

Adam Cross's picture

I know fashion, too - better to know than to not know! (I hate not knowing stuff :P) And I totally agree with what you say, my comment was just wishful thinking =D at least the older Hasselblad 500 V series cameras are within my price range, can pick certain models up nowadays around the £500 mark

Jaron Schneider's picture

Ha totally. And as I was just saying on Twitter, I'm really concerned about what this means for their direction. They seem to be leaning more to form and less on function. That's not a good thing for the industry as a whole. I really don't want to see that start to trend. Buying old Hasselblads might be the best way to go until we get a better idea of where Hasselblad is driving. 

Mark A. Kathurima's picture

I'd say these are semi-uncharted waters. BMW, Ferrari and Porsche have also made forays into this field, away from their core business of creating supremely capable automobiles. I wish Hassy all the best :)

peter25253's picture

ohoh.... normaly that´s a bad sign when a company, that is known for GOOD but EXPENSIVE products, try to get into other markets.

they try to make money out of their name... nothing more.

i guess hasselblad is in bad waters and desperately needs other income.

looking at their latest ugly mirrorless camera..... i say DESIGN is not their best bet.

Peter Ring's picture

Of course, design is about creating and marketing something attractive, desirable.

But I'm sad to see a really nice camera posturing as a luxury accessory. So wrong on many accounts.
Not my idea of what design is about. Shameful.

Stefano Druetta's picture

«Not really the first industries to come to mind when I heard “Italian Designer.”»how ignorant you ameriKans can be. we as italians are not only about prada, gucci, fendi and sh*t like that. get yourself an idea of what the word DESIGN really mean. 

btw: agreed, this "lunar" camera really looks like making fun of customers...

Juan Carlos Hernandez's picture

I find it interesting that the fourth image down, shows two classic cameras which I'm presuming are for inspiration yet their designs so far show a more modern, futuristic design. Also goes to the contrary of the classic look many others are going for which leads me to believe they aspire to pave a new path in design at least. I hope they bring new creativity and technology to the table instead of fancy camera accents and options. Can anyone pinpoint what the rangefinder on the table is?

Stefano Druetta's picture

hasselblad xpan

dave's picture

All well and good but Hasselblad are laying off staff at their premier studio in London......wonder how hong before the big H is consigned to history.

Deleted Account's picture

Well, there is still Mamiya, PhaseOne and Sinar for professionals. Hasselblad can compete for the market with Leica, making overpriced exclusive toys.