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Hand shower wins top design award

The Genie pressure booster hand shower by American Standard won 2019's SG Mark Platinum award for its simple but charming design

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Genie is an innovative hand shower with pressure boosting and water saving technology.

THE humble hand shower has won the top honour at this year's Singapore Good Design (SG Mark) awards, the country's benchmark of good design and quality. Its winning the top spot is a testimony to the power of good design in transforming such a simple product used in most homes.

The Genie pressure booster hand shower, by global bath and kitchen products manufacturer American Standard, won the top accolade - the Platinum award - in 2019's SG Mark awards for its ability to bring the benefits of a soothing shower to everyone in spite of issues such as water scarcity, low water pressure and flow.

SG Mark awards organiser Design Business Chamber Singapore said that according to the panel of judges, the Genie pressure booster hand shower won for its simple but charming design. They also liked it for its ability to improve people's lives without straining environmental resources, while remaining affordable. The product has raised the bar in the consideration and design for personal hygiene products.

"Design does not exist in a vacuum. Beyond improving the aesthetics, design is a powerful tool which can be used to solve problems - in both the developing world and more developed economies, in beautiful, sustainable and engaging ways," says Andrew Pang, president of the Design Business Chamber Singapore (DBCS).

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As consumers become savvier and more demanding, more product makers have come to realise that good design can give them an edge over their competitors. Hence, the number of entries for the product category in the SG Mark awards had more than doubled this year, he adds.

"Good design can empower both enterprises and users, and enhance their lives by doing more with less," says Mr Pang. The SG Mark 2019 winners showcase how design can empower both businesses and consumers to do more with less. Submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups went up this year amid higher quality of entries, he adds.

Another trend that has emerged this year, Mr Pang noted, is that design and innovation play a more significant role, in line with DBCS' vision and mission to facilitate business transformation through design innovation. "With design becoming a new source of growth and productivity, businesses are realising the value of investing in quality design," he says, adding that consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries.

The SG Mark was launched in 2013 in partnership with the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, which founded the prestigious Japan Good Design (G Mark). The SG Mark - which receives support from DesignSingapore Council, has over the years registered a steady increase in participation by local and international companies. With the aspiration of positioning Singapore as a premier design hub, the two organisations envision the SG Mark serving as a universal endorsement of products and services that embody good design, according to DBCS.

Beyond being recognised in Singapore and having the right to use the SG Mark logo in their marketing and collateral, SG Mark winners can also gain international recognition as they are admitted directly into the final round of the prestigious G Mark for its highest levels of awards.

Now in its sixth year, the SG Mark is awarded to innovative and exceptional designs which spur the imagination and enhance people's day to day lives, says DBCS. The awards for the 2019 winners were given out last month at the SG Mark 2019 awards ceremony held at Gardens by the Bay. The winners are being showcased to the public via a month long exhibition at Changi Airport Terminal 3 (walkway to Jewel). The exhibition will end on June 23, 2019.

When contacted by The Business Times for comments on winning the top award at this year's SG Mark event, Antoine Besseyre des Horts, vice-president of design at American Standard, which is part of Lixil Corporation, said: "The Singapore Good Design Award is globally recognised as a benchmark of good design and quality. This is truly an amazing achievement for my team and we are very proud of this Platinum award!

RECOGNITION

"It is also a great recognition of how closely all the functions of the organisation have worked together to offer a product that not only addresses the consumer insights of poor showering experience at low pressure but also features aesthetics and materials combination not seen at such price positioning."

He went on to add that at American Standard, design is about addressing people's real life issues and daily needs. "We started Genie's design process with the intent to solve three major pain points that we have identified in most Asian countries: the low pressure conditions preventing people to enjoy soothing shower experiences, the clogging of the outlets due to the poor water quality and the water scarcity.

"Genie addresses these pain points through a combination of sophisticated technologies with unique aesthetic and functional features. We have created a product that is inviting, iconic, and purposeful yet accessible to the many! I think it is this truly user-centric approach that appealed to the jury."

Highlighting the special features of the Genie hand shower that led to its getting the top award, he says: "The ingenuity of this hand shower relies on the absence of complex internal mechanisms! The inside cavity and micro perforated spray face were carefully designed and engineered to boost the water flow and reduce the water consumption of several litres per minute in comparison to traditional hand showers.

"Also, in parts of Asia, outlets get clogged easily as the water is often of a poor quality. Genie's transparent spray face and back part allow the users to see inside so they know when to clean the product. The back part features a simple and universal opening system. A slot in the centre can be easily rotated with a coin, a key or the specially designed tool, and removed to clean inside. To achieve this simple looking yet sophisticated design, we have used an advanced dual injection process that ensures the perfect sealing of the spray face onto the body and allows us to achieve different colours and finishes."

Genie is American Standard's truly innovative hand shower with a pressure boosting and water saving technology ensuring an indulging showering experience to people living in parts of Asia where water pressure and scarcity are daily issues. It features a simple yet very iconic design enhanced by unique functional features for more convenient daily usages, he adds.

DIFFERENT

The company says that the Genie hand shower is different from competitors' offerings in that most hand showers don't perform well under low pressure conditions due to the size of the spray face and the internal mechanisms. "Genie has been conceived focusing on providing the same benefits as a hand shower that is usually used with high pressure. We have engineered, prototyped and tested several designs to define the best ratio between spray face size, size of the holes, number of holes, and volume of the inside cavity so it performs well under poor pressure conditions while reducing water consumption," says the company.

The award-winning hand shower's maker American Standard says that it has earned the trust of its customers by constantly delivering style, quality and reliability to their bathrooms. Today, backed by more than 140 years of pioneering legacy, American Standard continues to raise the bar in delivering dependable bathroom solutions that combine thoughtful designs and innovative technologies to create inviting bathroom sanctuaries, offering ultimate comfort and performance to its customers.

American Standard's parent, Lixil Corporation, says that it is a global leader in the housing and building industry. Its unique portfolio spans everything from technologies that revolutionise how we interact with water in our daily lives, to a full lineup of products and services for houses and major architectural projects.

Delivering core strengths in water, kitchen, housing, and building technologies, the company's brands including Lixil, Inax, Grohe, American Standard, and Permasteelisa are leaders in the industries and regions in which they operate.

Lixil operates in more than 150 countries and employs more than 70,000 people, bringing together function, quality, and design to make people's lives better and more delightful - wherever they are, says the company.