Fisher & Paykel’s gen­eral man­ager of de­sign – and HOME De­sign Awards judge – Mark El­more on the im­por­tance of qual­ity.

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How has Fisher & Paykel’s de­sign fo­cus changed over the years? One of the big­gest shifts for us over the past 15 years has been the in­creas­ing de­mand for prod­ucts that co­or­di­nate and match. Along with the DishDrawer Dish­washer and CoolDrawer – hero prod­ucts that have built great aware­ness and given us in­no­va­tive plat­forms – we work hard on all the touch points. We make sure our de­signs have the right qual­ity and ma­te­ri­al­ity: long-last­ing, durable de­sign. Ap­pli­ances are an in­vest­ment and peo­ple want them to last a long time. Could it be said that the more you de­sign, the less you see? Our de­signs are a sub­set of the kitchen and the kitchen is a sub­set of the home, so there­fore it’s about how we fit. You can’t de­sign in iso­la­tion – if you do you’ll end up with a prod­uct that fights that en­vi­ron­ment, from the fit and us­abil­ity right through to the aes­thet­ics. Does that mean in­te­gra­tion? It can do. We spend a lot of time get­ting to the nitty gritty of how to do that well, and get­ting the de­tails right. It’s a choice, of course – for ex­am­ple with our new re­frig­er­a­tion you can hero the stain­less fridge, and it fits seam­lessly with no un­sightly gaps. But if you want to hide it away com­pletely, then we have a great so­lu­tion for that too. You reg­u­larly col­lab­o­rate with ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers. Why? Zero dis­tance to the cus­tomer is about shar­ing and col­lab­o­rat­ing early so we get a bet­ter out­come, and we get there a lot faster. It has sharp­ened our fo­cus: we’re learn­ing the value of en­gage­ment at an ear­lier stage in our de­sign process. Why spon­sor the HOME De­sign Awards? We’re part of the de­sign com­mu­nity, and we’re very proud that we de­sign in New Zealand. We have 350-odd peo­ple here in our Auck­land and Dunedin of­fices de­sign­ing prod­ucts for the world. It’s key for us to sup­port and help grow the de­sign com­mu­nity – and to cel­e­brate that.

Above and left The Fisher & Paykel de­sign team works from a pur­pose-built space in Auck­land where they get hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence of the com­pany’s prod­ucts in a beau­ti­fully equipped kitchen.

Be­low and be­low right Con­cepts and ideas are high­lighted on the walls of the de­sign stu­dio; Mark El­more is gen­eral man­ager of de­sign at Fisher & Paykel.

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