2005 Best in Category: Home Organization, Laundry Care & Non-Electric Cleaning Products
Casabella Holdings, LLC
Flex Neck TNT Scrubber and Broom
It comes in all forms. Sometimes it begins with a look, a color or a shape. Other times design stems from the desire to solve a problem. The process begins with discussions like, “If only there was a product that could . . ..” Or, “we have this great product in our line but it really needs to be updated . . . ” Fill in the blank however you choose: the end result is always the same. Good design adds an intrinsic value to a product, separates it from the competition, gives it an aura that draws the consumer’s eye and even opens their wallets.
Many of these same design conversations took place in the development of Casabella’s award-winning Flex Neck TNT Scrubber and Broom. According to Flavio DeRoma, product designer at the company, the inspiration for the Flex Neck Scrubber grew out of discussions about improving an established product in the company’s line. The original product, a bathtub scrubber was 7 years old and while still functional, needed an update.
“We realized it had some room for improvement, so we decided to redesign it with better technology,” said DeRoma.
The decision to redesign however was the easy part. Getting the product to work and meet the company’s high performance standards was a little more challenging.
“The challenge was we wanted the head to swivel, but not to swivel too much,” said DeRoma. “We needed to be able to control the motion, to control how much the head was going to turn.”
Other challenges also arose along the way in connecting the plastic parts of the flex head to the metal handle and also to the grip head, which would hold the replaceable sponge and scrubber heads. DeRoma describes the process of one of trial and error, testing concepts and winnowing away until the solutions were revealed.
The process didn’t stop there however.
“Once we had the head the way we wanted, we wanted to give it a look that was very simple, but at the same time classic in design,” said DeRoma.
He described the product’s aesthetic as one of, “straight lines and gentle curves, without too many breaks or decorations. Very simple, basic, elegant.”
Balancing the needs of form and function are always an issue in successful product design. In this case, with a design ethos calling for simple, clean lines, more of the focus on the product shifted to its performance, particularly. Ultimately, the product had to pass muster in the toughest test range— consumers’ homes.
“At the end of the day, what really matters is that the product has to work and it has to work well,” said De Roma. “This is not a product that is meant for decoration. It doesn’t sit on a shelf and just look good. People are going to put it to hard work.”
Apparently the company got the balance right as the product has been a successful performer, capturing consumers’ eyes, imagination and, most importantly, their discretionary income.