Drawing on a rich heritage of Scandinavian design, Electrolux believes a thoughtful attitude is the key to successful product design.
March 31st, 2009
As Head of Global Design operations for Electrolux, Henrik Otto is pivotal to the company’s design philosophy, design practice and the outcome of this: its products. Joining Electrolux in 2004, Otto was a central part of Electrolux’s strategy to increase its investment in design and product development – and a smart investment it was.
Otto feels it is his job to generate space and creative freedom for the company’s designers. “I think we have to dare to be different,” Otto says. “How are people going to notice the difference if they don’t even see it in the design? We have to be passionate about our products and our work.”
Electrolux products, he says, should be rediscovered every time you approach them. “You have to draw people to your product,” Otto says. “And you do that by being desirable andw recognisable.”
“Cars and vacuum cleaners are stand-alone products; you can create a unique design. Kitchen appliances have to work together. There you are on the borderline between interior architecture, furniture design and product design. So it has to fit in, but still say who it is. That is a challenge.”
Sustaining the Electrolux brand is its unique design philosophy, based on its Scandinavian heritage of thoughtful design. “It’s not so much about a design language, but about the attitude to how you go about solving a design challenge,” Otto says.
The basis for thoughtful design is to understand the consumer’s desires and preferences. The result is a perfect combination of functionality, sustainability, usability, visual appearance, touch and feel.
“Most of the time a fridge or oven is closed or unused. But while it is sitting there, it has to stir up emotions, to give you that feel-good factor,” Otto says. “Every time you look at it, it has to confirm your desires.”
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