Zurn tasked Nottingham Spirk to create a visually modern sensor faucet that would elevate Zurn's product portfolio above other commercial brands. We used our Vertical Innovation® process to deliver that solution by understandings and solving the unmet needs of the user.
We started with extensive research to immerse ourselves in the sensor faucet category. By conducting interviews with engineers, architects, and Zurn staff, we learned how sensor faucets are specified, why one brand or look is selected over another, and the vandalism issues surrounding the location of the sensor. Our industrial designers took these learnings into the concept development phase, and then several designs were presented to Zurn and industry colleagues. These concepts were reviewed extensively. What did people like? Were some designs too wild? Were some too bland? Were there positives and negatives to each design? Of the designs, which would enhance Zurn's product portfolio?
Focus on Design: Initially, sensorless designs were presented. We really wanted to understand what people liked about the various designs without being distracted by the sensor.
Sensor Location: Then we showed potential locations for the sensor. Zurn sensors were traditionally located on the base, highly visible, and easily vandalized, but the proposed locations moved the sensor to less obvious areas. Research revealed that most people who use sensor faucets automatically place their hands under the spout, regardless if they see the sensor. This insight allows us to move the sensor under the aerator and behind the spout, hiding it almost completely.
Nottingham Spirk engineers developed CAD files with Pro-Engineer and then SLA models were made of the 2-3 designs Zurn liked the best. The models were finished and painted to create realistic "looks-like" prototypes. These were shared in another round of research with engineers, architects, and Zurn staff, and at the close of the research, Zurn selected one design that moved into manufacturing. The final product is a smooth and sleek sensor faucet, appropriate for all commercial applications but also fitting for modern, high-end spaces.