Red Dot Yearbook 2020 > Interview

An interview with PHOENIX for the Red Dot Yearbook 2020. Andreas Diefenbach, Managing Partner and Matthias Oesterle, Design Business Manager answer questions about the Best of the Best for the hansgrohe Aquno Select M81 kitchen mixer.


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  • PHOENIX Designer: Matthias Oesterle, Andreas Diefenbach

    PHOENIX Designer: Matthias Oesterle, Andreas Diefenbach

    Andreas Diefenbach (*1979) has been a Phoenix Design Managing Partner since 2019. He successfully finished his studies in Industrial Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design and the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. Since 2006, he has held several positions with Phoenix Design, most recently as a member of corporate management. As a specialist for the sanitary and investment goods industries, he has consulted international brands in their innovation process and is today responsible for the areas of Business Development, HR, and Marketing.

    Matthias Oesterle (*1984), Design Business Manager at Phoenix Design. After studying in Schwäbisch Gmünd as a product designer, he began his career at Phoenix Design in Stuttgart. With his many years of experience in the design and development of brand and assortment strategies, he now manages innovative projects for clients such as Hansgrohe, Schindler or Viessmann. As a trend expert, he is responsible for the TrendLab from Phoenix Design.

  • Best of the Best – RED DOT DESIGN AWARD 2020 – hansgrohe Aquno Select M81 – kitchen mixer

    Best of the Best – RED DOT DESIGN AWARD 2020 – hansgrohe Aquno Select M81 – kitchen mixer

    Fluently easy and inimitable – that’s how the Aquno Select M81 kitchen mixer faucet by hansgrohe creates a trailblazing workflow around the kitchen sink. PHOENIX created the highly innovative design for this absolute kitchen novelty. The kitchen mixer faucet is particularly compelling thanks to its wide-array, soft SatinFlow water jet made up of micro-fine individual jets. In combination with the tailor-made multi-function strainer, culinary (pre-)preparation has never been easier, let alone so easy and efficient.


What was your goal when designing this product that has now received this award? It combines a new efficient technology with real user demands. To create a more immersive and innovative water experience. The Aquno Select M81 kitchen faucet takes into account the optimal workflow around the kitchen sink as well as the mindful handling of water, while at the same time ensuring top functionality and clear design. The language of form as well as the surfaces were to seamlessly integrate into modern kitchen architecture.

What is particularly important to you during the design process? To create a design that is typical, yet unique, and differentiating. A clear and reduced design language which is holistically aligned with the product series and the brand, while being user-focussed, sensible, and aesthetic.

Where do you find your inspiration? We are inspired by the future! We permanently question the status quo and develop the competitive edge of our clients into the dimension after the next. We always have a reason to improve ourselves and to develop further.

What do you particularly like about your work as a designer? Creating smart and substantial brand experiences which touch people – today, for tomorrow. To dare embark on new routes together with our clients, whom we regard as our partners. We understand the trust and confidence placed into our work as designers as a challenge and motivation at the same time.

How do you define quality / design quality? Good design has to be convincing in an holistic way, it has to take into account social responsibility, and it has to provide a substantial user value for the people it is made for, speaking to them and touching them. Design with “Logic, Morals, and Magic”.

Which trends and developments do you currently observe in your industry, and what is their influence on your work? The interplay of corporate and brand strategies all the way to user perspectives getting more and more subtle requires ever more competent and more agile design studio teams. Expectations get bigger and bigger, innovation processes get faster and faster.

Where do you see your industry ten years from now, and what does your personal vision of the future look like? We are already today shaping the digital reality. Our UX and Interaction Designers are living this lifestyle and are thinking further ahead: in scenario concepts and experience journey maps, ideas for the future are brought to life, thus helping our clients break through the limits of entrepreneurial imagination.

Which product/development could make our world advance significantly? The future belongs to “connected things”. Smart Living will be integrated into our everyday life as a matter of course. There are already hundreds of smart objects in the making, and all of them will interact with and react to each other. Navigating complexity will be decisive for making the world advance.

Do the current climate debate and climate change have an impact on your working routine? And if so, in which way? A growing population and the increasing demand for food, energy, and materials are a heavy burden on the finite resources of our planet. Product innovations which are efficient and provide a long service life to the user, as well as production processes which use resources sparingly, will dominate our design work.

What does winning the Red Dot: Best of the Best award mean to you? It’s a great honour! When a project like this is finished, you often look back on two or three years of development work. The evaluation of this result by an international panel of jurors comprising top design experts represents a very valuable reflexion making us very happy and motivating us very much.

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