Y Combinator-backed US startup Electric Air
is passionate about accelerating the adoption of residential electric heat pumps by improving their design. Their all-electric heating and cooling HVAC system is a modern heat pump system with HEPA filtration made up of four modules: a Condenser, Air Handler & Humidifier, wall-mounted Air Conditioner and a Thermostat. Having admired blond’s work for other innovative technology startups, Electric Air came to us to develop its brand identity and create an industrial design for the family of products that makes up its electric heat pump system. The aim of the partnership was to support Electric Air in telling its vision and story to help the company gain traction ahead of its next fundraising round.
We started the project by discussing Electric Air’s ambitions and deep-diving into research about US Homes, potential users and the wider market trends to better understand the opportunity areas in the HVAC market. From our research, we segmented the competitive market and plotted positioning options to locate opportunity areas for Electric Air. We identified an opportunity to create a visually progressive yet unified design for Electric Air’s products that had the potential to boost appeal to homeowners more than what the market currently offered. A range of options were created for the industrial design exploring both familiar and unexpected design languages. The preferred design direction has a rational yet progressive aesthetic that is designed to have a long-lasting, timeless appeal — while also introducing Electric Air’s innovative, disruptive nature to potential customers. Alongside the Industrial Design, we also designed the Electric Air Brand Identity.
Design for Manufacture (DFM)
The condenser, which has a particularly progressive and robust aesthetic to reflect its outdoor positioning, has the benefit of being modular. The unit can either be mounted to a wall, or transformed to reveal its legs to ensure sound operation throughout unpredictable weather conditions such as snow.
The design of the four modules that make up the heat pump system takes a warm, minimal approach, with soft curved edges and monochromatic panelling — elevated through a mix of contrasting matt, gloss and textured surfaces. This warm minimalism is carried over to the thermostat’s UI, which uses bold, rounded shapes, an impactful typeface and a contrasting colour palette for a seamless and familiar user experience. Crucially, the four modules fit seamlessly into a wide range of interior and exterior environments.