Daikin is one of the global leaders in air conditioning technology. When their European branch asked for a new approach for their indoor unit — mainly targeting Western markets — we began with a Europe-wide research project. This included observing and interviewing several related groups of people (users, sales people, installers), as well as evaluating competitors' products and overall design trends.
Our conclusion: everyone loves, and sometimes even acutely depends upon the function of their air conditioning, but at the same time everyone hates the available products from a design point of view, since manufacturers tend to treat them like home appliances with little or no consideration for their integration into the home environment. Our research helped to clearly understand the market and pinpoint users' demands.
Our design proposal follows a surprisingly radical approach: it tries to be as unobtrusive as possible. The appearance is that of a single, simple, yet slightly softened two-dimensional surface. It turns a traditionally chunky, ugly household appliance into a neutral and aesthetically-pleasing piece of furniture that blends into every interior.