Samsung Electronics was honoured with the President’s Design Award (PDA) for the design of the Samsung AddWash washing machine at a ceremony held on 9 December at the Istana in Singapore. Recognised for their design excellence and creative innovation, Samsung was one of the recipients of the prestigious “Design of the Year” category.
The President’s Design Award is Singapore’s highest honour accorded to designers and designs across all design disciplines with a total of 39 Designers of the Year and 99 Designs of the Year having been conferred the award since it launched in 2006.
The AddWash feature, from which the Samsung AddWash washing machine derives its name, features the world’s first distinctive access door on front load washing machines. It allows consumers to add any item during a wash cycle without opening the main door. According to the jury citation, this innovation is “a result of deep consumer insights, ease-of-use ergonomics and design for assembly and manufacturability”.
“This is a great testament to our Product Innovation team because it demonstrates the importance of smart design and how consumer insights can lead to innovative touches, to make consumers’ lives easier. They are now able to do their daily chores efficiently, and spend more time with their loved ones. We will continue to invest in understanding our consumers and creating products which enhance their daily lives,” said Irene Ng, Vice-President, Corporate Marketing, Samsung Electronics (Southeast Asia & Oceania).
AddWash is an innovative feature on a range of Samsung front load washing machines. It enables users to add articles mid-cycle via a secondary door within the main one, an advantage that until now was limited to top load washers.
Based on a seemingly simple insight gleaned from their customer research, the design team from Samsung Consumer Insight Group successfully exploited a common customer pain-point that has long been overlooked. The result is a product feature that has effectively engendered a new category in washing machines. This has the potential to sway buyers towards front load washers that have the added advantage of using less water while providing a superior wash quality. From a commercial perspective, the outcome of this design innovation will result in better margins for Samsung, proving the tried and tested adage that good design is good business.
This is an exemplary case where insights generated from the observation of Southeast Asian habits are used to create innovations that have global application and commercial relevance.
About the Design
The AddWash feature is the world’s first distinctive access door on front load washing machine that allows users to add any item during a wash cycle without opening the main door.
This innovation is a result of deep consumer insights (from both Southeast Asia and globally), ease-of-use ergonomics and design for assembly and manufacturability.
When it comes to laundry in Southeast Asia, there is a strong trend of interacting with the wash cycle, which could come in the form of adding detergent or inserting forgotten laundry into the load. Hand-washing and top loader washing machines are great at facilitating this interaction which builds trust in the washing process, allowing people to add their own special touch to their laundry. For example in Thailand, housewives like to add fabric conditioner at a specific time in the wash cycle to maximise the fragrance. In addition, some also like to add extra detergent or other cleaning agents during the wash cycle.
However, this interaction is not possible when it comes to front load washing machines as the door is locked once the cycle starts. The user cannot intervene with the process. On a global scale, users experience frustration with front loaders – once the cycle has started, it is impossible to add laundry to the machine if the user had forgotten to put them in. This frustration is a significant barrier to purchasing a front loader.
By having a second door which can be opened during the washing process, user can intervene in the process at any time to add fabric conditioner or extra cleaning agents, as well as forgotten items of laundry. The design includes a child feature, which prevents the drum from rotating whenever the door needs to be opened.
The AddWash feature addresses both the regional Southeast Asian desires of interacting with the process, and also the frustration experienced by users globally with front loaders. The concept also provides environmental benefits as it encourages the use of front loaders, which inherently consume less water and are more energy efficient. Despite being a Southeast Asian-driven insight, the AddWash is also highly relevant in other markets and was launched globally in 2016.