Some of the achievements we’re most proud of are quite down to earth — like designing a really good iron.
Innovation-wise, irons are tricky customers. You have to deliver a functional advantage at a competitive price point, with a design that stands out on the shelf — whilst still looking like an iron.
That was the puzzle set by Groupe SEB’s Calor, who needed to reinvent the 2000 Avantis and see off copycat competitors. We’d worked with the group since 1985, developing the world’s first cordless kettle for Tefal, modernising Calor’s look for the original Avantis and designing
their award-winning Express and Pro Express steam generators, amongst other products.
Still, we had questions. Was Calor’s brand position as ‘fast’ still relevant? What features would help consumers the most? While our research, branding and strategy group, Seymourpowell Foresight, mapped out the market landscape, our creative team set about finding neat ways to tackle perennial ironing niggles like water filling and stability.
we had some technical challenges, but thanks to our close relationship with Calor, we solved these without any large compromises
From initial sketches, we made foam models, which we tested with sample audiences and the team at Calor. Then our engineers got to work, making it commercially viable.
The Aquaspeed has a heel separate from the body, making it more stable without adding bulk or weight, and a large trapdoor for topping up water fast. A side benefit of the open back design is that it absorbs shock, meeting EU-inspired drop tests.
We had some technical challenges, but thanks to our close relationship with Calor, we solved these without any large compromises, and registered a number of new patents along the way.
Since its launch in 2004, Aquaspeed has become a worldwide success, with a design that sells itself. It’s a powerful example of how innovation builds brands, leaving cheaper, me-too manufacturers behind.