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2004 Best in Category: Cookware & Bakeware

Calphalon Corp.

Contemporary Non-Stick Cookware

Calphalon Contemporary cookware, awarded Best In Category at the inaugural Housewares Design Awards competition represents not only a new line for Calphalon, but also a new product development and design process.

“In the last two years we have really redefined how we go to market with product and brought on a staff that really spurs that process,” said Paul Angelo Loguidice, director, product design for Calphalon. “This product line was our first project, start to finish, following the new process.”

That process involved a number of changes in the company’s product development strategy— beginning with a renewed focus on the consumer and how they interact with product. It also included bringing industrial designers on staff, something that hadn’t been done in Calphalon’s 40-year history.

The company identified its primary target audience for the new line as ‘Gen X’ consumers in the 25- to 35-year old range. “This is a female consumer who is looking for modern design not only in her bedroom or dining room but also in the kitchen,” said Kristine Sickels, senior product manager, gourmet cookware.

Before the first sketch was made or the first pan stamped, the product development team sat down and developed a profile of their target consumer and the product they would develop for her. “We wrote down a lot of words that suited what we thought this consumer was looking for,” said Brian Demers, industrial designer. “There were words like classy, subtle, graceful, sophisticated, simple. We knew she was brand-conscious, style-conscious; that she wanted a product that was beautiful and distinctive.”

The team developed storyboards that showed the elements of a lifestyle they believed would fit the potential Calphalon Contemporary consumer. Included were things like the car she drives, the clothes she might wear, and the home in which she might live.

Even the cookware itself was given a persona. The team chose the internal code name “Rosie” to bring the line to life. Though a seemingly small thing, that personification of a line has been carried through to subsequent projects, as well. The recently introduced Calphalon One, featuring a unique infusion process of applying non-stick during the anodization process was given the name “Monica,” again to take the product beyond simply being an inanimate object.

“With any product we develop, we want to make sure that from a marketing perspective we know who we are trying to reach and provide as much information as we can about the consumer to inspire the design process,” Sickels explained.

And the results bear out the difficult, yet creative work that went into developing what has already become one of the company’s most successful product launches. Calphalon Contemporary’s sleek silhouette, graceful handle design and broad, flowing lid design create a look that immediately sets it apart.

More importantly, the line has served as a successful testing ground for a process that celebrates design and will support the creative design process going forward.

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