It took a team of designers and engineers many hours of research, sketches, and models to create a small appliance that performs as well as a large one. But Wolf Gourmet’s team in Richmond made it happen. “The underlying idea was to deliver precision control and the same performance and aesthetics of large Wolf Gourmet appliances in a countertop size,” says Mark Steiner, director of industrial design at Wolf Gourmet.
Mark’s been in the industry for more than 20 years and says a project like this one is energizing because the possibilities are endless when you’re designing from the ground up. It’s always exciting, and it’s always new. “We’ve designed these products for longevity—from both a visual and functional standpoint,” he says. “The timeless materials and form are coupled with extensively tested components to ensure performance at the highest level.”
The design team first explored the key design principles of the Wolf large appliances to see how those might apply to a countertop version. They then created several design themes to test which resonated most with target users. Those themes focused on delivering a range of solutions, from uncompromised commercial kitchen equipment to technology-based kitchen tools. “Imagery, product details, controls, materials—these were all used to communicate the different themes,” Mark says. From there, they moved into ideation: How does the product look? How does it behave? “For example, the way the door opens up on an oven, or the way a product feels and even the way it sounds. All of those create that brand experience. We worked creating sketches to develop each of those areas, understanding ways we could bring the product to life focused on those different experiences.”
Four Design Details
Symmetry and Style
“Most of the products have a clear symmetry to them, which creates an order. It makes the product easier to use,” Mark says. Knobs and controls match brand standards and help the product stand out on store shelves. Knobs come in heritage red, black, or stainless steel.
“We didn’t want the user to have to dive into different levels of menus to get at functions. That was the idea around the selector ring control.” Modes are visible and easy to select, and the product has an analog feel but with the technology to help you out.
Snug and Grounded
The oven-safe glass lid fits snugly on the multi-cooker for a tight seal. Research also found that users wanted the product to be grounded on the counter. “That really solid, simple base became an important design element,” Mark says.
Attention to Detail
“The design delivers on every detail to enhance functionality, control, usability, and a high level of craftsmanship. We even looked at details like the way the upper housing of the product meets the base; the stainless steel housing wrap stands slightly proud of the base so we don’t have any gaps appear.” Graphics are molded in and ink-filled to last, too. “All those little details contribute to that long lasting, well-built product.”
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This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Sixtysix with the headline “Wolf Gourmet Multi-Function Cooker.” Subscribe today.
Produced by Studio Sixtysix
Words by Laura Rote
Photos by Samer Almadani
Prop Styling by Adrienne Blumthal
Studio Sixtysix is the in-house creative agency to Sixtysix magazine. Studio Sixtysix stories are conceived, produced, and edited by Studio Sixtysix.