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Industrial Design: Ideation to Innovation

Last fall saw the debut of Sphere faucet, the first concept faucet presented by the Delta design team. For those who got the opportunity to engage with the Sphere faucet, it was as enchanting as it was intriguing; many were enamored with the elegant bulb shape and its eco-friendly, but highly saturating, water distribution. Inspired by this success, Delta designers look to follow up the Sphere faucet with a second concept faucet they’ll debut in fall 2018.

Delta Faucet's Sphere Concept Faucet
The Sphere concept faucet (above). The Delta design team (left to right): Tony Spangler, TJ Eads, Celine Garland, Jordan Bahler, Judd Lord and Seth Fritz (top).
For those of us who aren’t industrial designers, the idea of a “concept” product always sounds a tad esoteric. When asked what exactly is a “concept faucet?” the Delta designers we spoke to each took a different view. For Jordan Bahler, “a concept faucet is more of an idea, based around the main functions of a faucet, but not constrained by the processes we currently use to build it. Usually our goal is to push the perception of a faucet. If we can get [you] asking, ‘Is that really a faucet?’ then we’ve done a good job.” For Alejandra Lazarini, “a concept faucet is a way for us to really go outside of the box and try something different. It’s an opportunity to let our creativity shine and really challenge how things have been done for so long. … We believe this is the best way to get our minds out of the rigidity of how things are made now and to let our minds innovate.” For both, the idea of what the finished product should be is pushed to the side in favor of something boundless, opening the opportunity for real imagination to shine through.

Industrial Designer: Faucet Prototype Design
Jordan Bahler is hard at work on a faucet prototype.
Now that the concept faucet design process has been initiated, all of the designers bring their personal ideas and influences to fuel their ideas. Alejandra allows the inspiration to flow from “everywhere—architecture, fashion, nature, technology. Inspiration can come from the latest and greatest on smart home technology or from hiking in the blue mountains of Australia. It’s all about paying attention to your surroundings and being in the know.” For others, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) goes beyond the classroom, and into the making of the concept. “Adding the ‘Art’ to STEM really defines our process here,” says T.J. Eads. “We are creating these functional sculptures alongside many talented engineers and marketing folks to deliver them to the end user. We thrive on the problem-solving aspect of our job while being resourceful and mindful in all areas. We apply science, technology, engineering, art, and math every day here at Delta.”

Faucet Designer
Celine Garland is an expert industrial designer.
We’ll have to wait until October 2018 for the reveal of the second concept faucet. But even if the latest concept never makes it to the sales floor of your favorite home store, going through the stages of design and production benefits not only the Delta design team, but consumers as well. “It gives us pause to break away from how we normally do things. It challenges our brain to think differently,” says designer Celine Garland. “Having the whole team working on it also means we get exposed to ideas other than our own.” What’s more, “concept products are made with unconventional materials through new processes and freedom gives us the ability to try something different,” says Alejandra. “We learn about subjects we wouldn’t have the ability to learn otherwise. That knowledge can then be used to innovate in a more approachable way on our everyday faucets and keep our brand moving forward.”
Well said.