Generali, a global leader in the insurance industry, wanted to be more than an insurance provider: they wanted to become a partner in life for their clients. Through their start-up Jeniot, Generali set out to develop their first-ever physical product, a smart-device that monitors the air quality of homes.
To tackle the challenge, they needed an experienced partner to take them from idea to a production-ready product and to build a production line along the way. Having previously collaborated with us on both healthcare service design, and the design of the employee wellness space at their Citylife, Milan headquarters, Generali tasked us with the co-design of the device.
Our team started by defining the physical form for the smart device. Originally imagined as a simple box, we took inspiration from the twisting shape of the new Generali headquarters in CityLife district Milano, incorporating its identity into an iconic formal language for the device.
We strived to create a continuous, subtle light with no shadows, with a fading impact changing from red to white to create a human, non-aggressive personal feel. In addition to a smart PCB layout design, the choice of material was essential in creating the impression we wanted. We analyzed multiple materials for their transparency and the right 3D texture – glossy matt to achieve a white, non-glossy result. Materials were treated not only as a finishing but optical materials that gave us the effect we wanted – whether the device is on or off.
AirSafe uses lighting to communicate with its user in an intuitive, easy-to-understand way. The entire surface of the product changes color depending on the situation. Users can see immediately, if everything is functioning well. The connected mobile app gives additional information.
We worked hard to get the lighting signals and shades just right in terms of their tone, movement and subtlety to achieve a soft, friendly, pleasing overall feel of the IoT device, and to avoid the feeling of an intrusive technology entering the family home. The device also functions as an ambient light to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Early in the process, we 3D-printed several rounds of ideas to give the client a physical representation of the product, both in terms of the aesthetic proposals, lighting scenarios, and the leads and button solutions. Throughout the process, we created life-sized functioning prototypes to find the perfect lighting effects. Our prototyping approach allowed the Generali team to evaluate every single step of the process carefully with a real, tangible object.
To bring the product to life, our mechanical engineering team worked closely together with the product and lighting designers to achieve the design intent and lighting. The process included 3D modeling, 2D drawings, and design-for-manufacturing process with the suppliers to analyze and minimize risk and ensure a smooth, optimized, cost-efficient manufacturing process.
As Generali is not a product manufacturer, our seasoned team of experts supported and facilitated them in creating, coordinating, and managing the complex network of suppliers, toolmakers, and the electronics supplier Nuvap.
Collaborating with the Generali team, and building an atmosphere of trust along the way, we guided them in launching the production of AirSafe, sharing our decades of experience along the way.