Ultrasonic Clean: A Dolfi Story | Chapter One: Design
Today we’re taking you through the journey of Dolfi’s creation. The first chapter of the story for this revolutionary device begins with its design.
It was early into the summer of 2014 when Lena, Founder/CEO of Dolfi met for the first time with industrial designer, Andre Fanguerio. Neither of them knew then that the destiny of Dolfi’s product design would be defined at that meeting.
Andre’s eyes sparked with interest when Lena told him how much freedom he would have to shape the future product. The world had yet to see a hand-sized washing machine and there were no expectations in terms of its look. The product could have practically any shape - a great opportunity for the creative mind of a talented designer.
The design process had begun. Andre’s initial concept was smart, modern, and vibrant. The device was intended to float on the surface of water and emit the ultrasonic waves.
The silicone tube was not only a grip meant for taking the device out of the water, but also a protective case after use.
With this design, however, there were several concerns. The engineering prototypes that the team was testing at that time were completely immersible, so there were questions on the performance of the floating device. Also, the frequent stretching of its silicone tube for storage could impact the durability of the silicone and reduce the product’s lifetime. The design was also very feminine, and they didn’t want to deter anyone from purchasing it based on appearance. They sought a look that was uniform, familiar, and intuitive to everyone who used it.
So, Andre went back to the drawing board to create the next concept, and another one, and another one… There were many long hours of discussions and design meetings with concepts discarded again and again. It was an intense and emotional process. The freedom of creating a unique shape seemed to be a blessing at first but turned out to be a curse a few months later.
“I have never created so many concepts for any product before. Typically, it is just two or three concepts,” said Andre. “It was really exhausting sometimes. The right shape was just slipping away.” During the first three months, they ended up with 11 concepts. You can see some of them here:
Then, during some of those countless design review meetings, our brand/graphic designer noticed that one of the concepts looked like a brick of soap. “It’s a pebble!” Andre exclaimed. At that very moment, the concept for Dolfi’s amazing shape was born.
Andre (left) and Lena (right) during a design meeting at a favorite restaurant in the Netherlands.
“I really admire Andre’s talent, creativity and professionalism, but what defines him as a great designer is his dedication to perfection and fantastic ability to discard the good in order to strive for the best.” - Lena
A lot of attention was given to the shape’s details. They ended up with over 20 different versions of the pebble shape:
Lena and Andre took advantage of the amazing technology available and were able to 3D print a model in just few days. Holding a mockup of the future product in their hands made the endeavor feel very real. After making a good number of 3D printed prototypes for different shape versions, they finally settled for that One Ultimate Dolfi design:
"Its smooth form provides the end user with a sense of friendliness and security that this object would help to wash even their most precious textiles," said Andre. "The curvature and acceleration of the surfaces are designed to communicate a high-end consumer product within its technological size. The end result is the small-sized, hand-held product that is both high-tech and high-performing."
Looks like a completed product design, right? They thought so too, but the next challenge was waiting just around the corner.
To be continued in Chapter Two: Combining Design with Technology
Edit: February 2019
Each year, the world’s oldest independent design organization, Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, organizes the iF DESIGN AWARD – the most prestigious world-renowned design prize. Dolfi has won 2019’s iF DESIGN AWARD in the Product category for the outstanding design of its innovative ultrasonic washing device.
Dolfi won over the 67-member jury, made up of independent experts from all over the world, with its smooth organic pebble shape intuitively communicating the product’s purpose and function.The competition was intense: over 6,400 entries were submitted from 50 countries in hopes of receiving the seal of quality.