ABOUT THE DESIGNER
The Electrolux Group markets home appliances under the brands Electrolux and Electrolux Grand Cuisine, as well as those of other established names such as AEG, Zanussi and Frigidaire. Products it makes and sells include domestic appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, cookers, vacuum cleaners and air-conditioners.
Electrolux S.E.A’s design team, led by Leonard, works closely with Ko Wee and his team in Singapore. Together, they strive to develop “thoughtfully designed” products based on “deep consumer insight and in close collaboration with users”.
“I believe that design is about creating and communicating experiences. Users have physical and emotional reactions to a product. My goal is to create positive reactions and to enhance the experience that a product communicates”, says Leonard, who started his design career with Creative Technology, where he helped to design products such as multimedia speakers, web cameras and MP3 players. He also worked with Philips Design and Dell before joining Electrolux.
Born in Singapore to a Chinese father and Parsi mother, Leonard studied product design at Temasek Polytechnic before enhancing his studies in design at the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia.
Ko Wee, who holds a Master of Arts degree in Visual and Interaction Design from Umea Institute of Design in Sweden, and a Product and Industrial Design with Merit diploma from Temasek Polytechnic, designed the user interface for food preservation of the entire Ouyi range for China.
Prior to joining Electrolux in 2011, Ko Wee, worked for Hewlett-Packard and Philips Electronics in Singapore. He has also worked in other Asian countries, the United States and Europe.
Explaining their approach to teamwork, Leonard says: “We have a robust product development process with clear roles, responsibilities and deliverables from the multi-disciplinary project team. Weekly calls and frequent face-to-face meetings allow for clear communication and teamwork to get the project through from concept to production”.
Ko Wee adds: “It is important to have a ‘can do’ spirit and the resolve to push from concept to final execution”.
Commenting on the President’s Design Award’s influence on Singapore’s design scene, Leonard says: “The recognition that design has the ability to make a difference encourages designers to explore beyond their boundaries and believe in their design innovations”. Ko Wee feels that being recognised for their design efforts definitely encourages designers and pushes them to work harder. He says: “The Award motivates designers to challenge themselves to create something which is beneficial to the world”.
Advice to emerging designers:
“Innovation can be incremental changes in design that make meaningful differences to the user’s everyday life. This can be achieved through keen observation of how users interact