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