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Behind the Brand: Product Designers Talk with KBB

November 27, 2023

Welcome to the November edition of Behind the Brand, where KBB seeks to illuminate – somewhat! – the creative process from the perspective of top product designers in the kitchen and bath fields. Being able to look at everyday objects in a radically different way is the [un]common denominator of these talented individuals.

This month, we hear from:

  • Daniel Germani, creative director, Danver
  • Francesco Lucchese, Falmec design partner & founder of Lucchese Design
  • Jeppe Christensen, founder, Reform

As a product designer, my greatest responsibility is…

Germani: One of my main areas of focus is creating designs that are distinctive yet timeless. I find that’s the biggest challenge and responsibility in product design – creating something that won’t fall out of style or need to be replaced in a few years, without “playing it safe.” At the end of the day, I want to create something that homeowners can feel good about investing in, and that will create true impact in their space – and enduring designs also help contribute to a more sustainable future.

Lucchese: My responsibility as a designer is to design what improves people’s everyday life experiences. Design is more than aesthetics; it’s about understanding the wants and needs of the end user and crafting products, spaces or experiences that improve their lives in meaningful ways. Adopting a user-centric approach is essential in understanding the problems and challenges people face in their daily lives.

Christensen: To make great kitchen design more accessible to regular people with functionality and the planet in mind. I’m not a designer, but I have always had a great passion for design, art and architecture and a profound wish to change the fact that good kitchen design used to be exclusionary and out of reach for most people. As a design-driven company working with internationally acclaimed designers and architects, Reform aims to offer premium kitchens for the masses. But design doesn’t come first. To be a good designer you need to put functionality and sustainability at the forefront – otherwise the design doesn’t matter.

danver

Danver

One of my creative touchstones is…

Germani: My upbringing in Buenos Aires and my time spent living in Europe, which has played a significant role in shaping my sense of taste and style. My parents were also incredibly influential in nurturing my creative sensibilities, instilling in me an appreciation for design from a young age. In particular, my time living in Italy has profoundly influenced my perspective and approach to design, broadening my horizons and enriching my understanding of architecture and its impact.

Lucchese: My creative touchstone is always finding the perfect balance between aesthetics and function by starting from a performance perspective. For example, when I worked with Falmec to design their Spazio Range Hood, the overarching creative strategy was to combine the design-forward aesthetic the brand is known for with extreme functionality. I’m proud to say that Spazio is a balanced blend of both.

Christensen: It’s difficult for me to highlight one creative touchstone. At Reform we want to work with the best and most prominent designers and architects in the world, so in that sense you could say that each design collaboration we make is a touchstone.

An industry trend that I’m watching is…

Germani: The growing inclination towards embracing color in our everyday lives, particularly within our homes. There is a noticeable shift as more and more Americans are looking to infuse vibrant hues into their living spaces, creating environments that are visually captivating and evoke a sense of joy. This trend is a departure from the more subdued color palettes of the past, as people are increasingly drawn to the expressive and uplifting qualities that color can bring to their surroundings. As a designer, I find it exciting to explore this trend and discover innovative ways to incorporate and celebrate the power of color in our homes.

Lucchese: The industry trend I’m watching is sustainable design, where materials and finishes do not affect the ecosystem while becoming eco-friendly, so the designer’s work can continue over time despite the continuous global changes. Designing for a company like Falmec is truly an honor, as they wholeheartedly embrace green production practices and continuously explore product innovations that prioritize durability and longevity.

Christensen: There is no way around sustainability today, and this is of course something that we are continuously trying to improve across the supply chain. We are very committed to creating sustainable, durable design that you would not want to replace for a long time. Timeless design that you will look at in ten years and still think it could be from today. Generally, we try to be ahead of trends and rely heavily on the designers and architects that design our kitchen collections.

Falmec Spazio Range Hood

Falmec

The best part of my job is…

Germani: The ability to bring my curiosity to life through the creation of products. Being a designer allows me to explore and delve into a wide variety of styles and subjects, and lets me explore how to translate ideas into tangible and meaningful designs. It is a truly rewarding experience. Additionally, teaching has been transformative for me. The opportunity to share my experiences and lessons learned over the years brings immense joy and fulfillment to my life. Being able to inspire and empower others through education, and witnessing their growth and development, is an incredible privilege. The act of teaching not only benefits my students but also deepens my own understanding and passion for design.

Lucchese: The best part of my job is freedom. I can be free to think and design for the future without limits, no matter the economic side. I also enjoy my work with brands and the opportunity to express my creative freedom through a new channel. These partnerships allow me to expand my creative thinking into areas I don’t always have a chance to invest in regularly.

Christensen: What I love most about my job is that I get the chance to work with a lot of talented people and even some of my biggest inspirations from the design industry.

Reform Shaker Kitchen Cabinetry

Reform

If I had a week off from the studio, I would…

Germani: Either travel or be at home in Arizona. There are times when I love to travel to new destinations, immersing myself in different cultures and seeking inspiration from unfamiliar surroundings. On other occasions, I find joy in the simple pleasures of being at home, enjoying the process of grocery shopping for fresh ingredients and cooking all day.

Lucchese: If I had a week off, I would like to completely immerse myself in cooking experimentation, one of my passions, perhaps in front of the sea, which has been my natural environment for as long as I can remember.

Christensen: I would spend time with my three kids and girlfriend in our summer house north of Copenhagen and probably go biking with my friends.

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor