Zanussi Industrial Design Focuses on Pared-Down Geometry, Simplified Controls for Effortless Home Life
Apr 18, 2012
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The industrial design of a new Quadro built-in self cleaning oven, launched by Electrolux's Zanussi brand for the European market, focused on creating an extremely easy to use appliance while maximizing consumer brand recognition.

The unit is one of the new products in the refreshed Zanussi appliance brand design scheme, which includes pared-down geometry of the control layout and bright, bold look.

The line design seeks to simplify the traditional yellow Zanussi brand color. Underlining the logo with the colors of the flag of Italy, the home of the brand, helps enhance consumer recognition and stand out in a retail setting.

The new appliances retain design elements such as vertical alignment and clean lines that have been part of the Quadro line since its 1999 introduction. Unique design elements for the oven include a distinctive arched handle shape, black tinted glass doors with a dot pattern, and amber LEDs and displays on many models. Designers sought to achieve an "architectural and clean geometry" that would fit in contemporary kitchens.

Zanussi sees its customers as users who "want a flexible and low maintenance home with appliances that are effortless and simple to use, easy to maintain, functional and reliable."

Barbieri, senior industrial design manager and head of the Zanussi design team in Porcia, Italy, noted, "We wanted to move away from the idea of the appliance as an industrial product."

One example: "We eliminated the stainless steel frame around the window to make the oven less industrial looking and to visually communicate the large oven cavity," Barbieri said.

Barbieri also explained the reason for the arched shape used on the oven door handle - one of only two curved design features in the whole line. He said the shape made the design more emotional and friendly and less "Germanic."

"The hood design also uses an arched surface," he said. "That mirrors the oven handle shape, and the use of glass gives the hood an attractive, floating appearance. It's affordable but at the same time stylish, unique and modern."

In keeping with the idea of an effortless home life, controls offer only essential functions without frills. "Our products do not promise super-specific functions to calibrate the perfect temperature or the perfect spin cycle," Barbieri explained. "That's because we are designing for people who are not perfectionists. They just want a reliable product that looks great and is easy to use."

To make the controls easy to use and easy to read, the design team limited the number of programs, made the graphics bigger, and simplified the hierarchy in the menus. The team also made the knobs bigger.

"What I hope we have achieved in the new design is a calibrated mix between easy to use, reliable products, and the original and modern Zanussi brand personality," Barbieri says. "It should be a practical and expressive design, adaptable to the consumer's life that becomes not a tool but partner in their daily life."

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