As the old saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. This was not the case when developing the new Selnova Premium toilet – quite the opposite, in fact. The local product manager – someone with a flair for industrial design – gave the initial impetus for the design.
The job description of a product manager is a varied one. One of their main tasks is to launch new products on the market, assist in their development and maximise their value. Fabio Peyla is one of these managers. Since 2016, the 43-year-old has looked after the bathroom systems at the Italian sales company. When developing the new toilet in the Selnova Premium bathroom series for the Italian and British markets, his flair for industrial design came to the fore.
“The goal was to interpret the tastes of the customer and translate this into the style of the product,” he explains. So, product managers are also interpreters as well? “That’s one way of looking at it,” he says with a smile.
Pen and napkin
Fabio Peyla set about detailing his vision for the new toilet a while ago. According to the man himself, describing the design process is not easy. Spontaneously, he picked up a pen and started to draw on a white napkin – geometric surfaces and curved lines that gradually took on the shape of a toilet.
The product manager enthusiastically mentions the psychology of the design, the interplay of lines and the delicate balance of the curves. All this specialist terminology underlines that, while product design is not his profession, it is at least some form of calling.
Foundation for teamwork
Together with the first product specifications, this sketch formed the starting point for the design process, as Scott Derbyshire, industrial designer at Geberit, explains. “As we were primarily developing the product for the Italian market, Fabio’s sketch was a big help,” he explains. “If product managers have a clear vision and a clear understanding of what their market needs, then we can exclude certain options right from the outset and make progress quickly.” The rest is teamwork at its best – designers develop the final product design step by step together with technical product development (TPD) and the product managers.
Hopes of success
The result of this close, cross-departmental teamwork is the new floor-standing and back-to-wall Selnova Premium toilet and bidet. Fabio Peyla is now crossing his fingers that the product is a success: “This would be the cherry on the cake.” Even now, he looks back at the experience with happiness. “Things like this are only possible at a fantastic company like Geberit.”