Two years after Hasselblad opened with all the fanfare its Italian Design Center to create such widely mocked cameras as the Lunar and Stellar, two years after a futile attempt to fool photographers into buying a former generation of pimped up Sony cameras, two years on it looks like Hasselblad has quietly closed down its Design Center in the Italian town of Treviso.
In case you ever wondered whether there will be a Polar after the Lunar and the Stellar, you will likely be disappointed. Not the slightest surprise, isn’t it. Hasselblad’s high-end Sony reincarnations are probably no more. German photography magazine Photoscala reports the center seized operations already in May. Shortly after the Italian designers founded an own company, 4V Design, for the design of photography and smartphones accessories.
The Hasselblad HV was another overly sophisticated Sony offspring, but the concept of pepping up electronics for the sake of status, luxury and an inflated price tag just wasn’t meant to ever be successful. We knew it all along. Except the “father” of these pseudo cameras, former Hasselblad CEO Larry Hansen, thought he knew better.
Dr. Hansen was fired already in January, and with him his vision of Sonys in disguise. No clue what Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P. played in all this, the owner of Hasselblad since 2011. Maybe not a bad thing to put photographers back in to control who build tools for photographers.
The Sony derivatives are still produced; some are “Made in Sweden,” some “Made in Japan.” But Hasselblad’s New Business Development in Treviso is history, and with it most likely the saga of those Sonys on fashion steroids.
BTW, since 2011 also Leica has a new strategic partner, private equity firm Blackstone. While the situation within Leica is nowhere near as grave as within Hasselblad, it’s said that there’s a conflict between Leica traditionalists and newer forces. Which might explain Leica’s product rollouts as of late.