NORTH OLMSTED, OH--(Marketwired - Sep 30, 2014) - ... The roundness of a cherub's cheek in a granite statue… the intricacy of the column details in a century-old monument… the beautiful arc of the dome in a downtown cathedral… While these structural elements may be commonplace to those who call Italy home, these details did not go unnoticed by Moen's Global Design team. Italian architecture has widely influenced the architecture of the world; and earlier this year, the Global Design team at Moen capitalized on all the country has to offer, allowing the architecture and landscape to stimulate the creative process. The locale served as the backdrop for Sketchfest -- an annual, inspirational, offsite event focused entirely on generating new product designs.
What began as a tool to build team spirit amongst the designers, Sketchfest has evolved into a forward-looking, creative think tank that fuels the thoughtfully designed products Moen brings to market. As 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of Moen's Sketchfest, the Global Design Team thought it was only fitting to celebrate this milestone while gaining fresh perspective. They traveled to Milan and Como, Italy and spent a few days finding inspiration for the newest kitchen and bathroom fixtures within a colorful and romantic setting.
"If you talk about design in Europe, you usually talk about Italy," said Jennifer Sedwick, senior industrial designer, Moen. "You can see things from several hundreds of years ago and easily realize how those details are translated into housewares and furniture… and faucets."
Before retreating to the countryside in Como, the team attended Salone del Mobile Milano at Milan Design Week, a venue that showcases the best interior and industrial design has to offer. To say this world-class event left the group inspired would be an understatement; the experience allowed them to absorb the latest trends and ideas that would then freely flow onto paper once Sketchfest commenced.
"The serene and peaceful atmosphere of Como really allowed the team to uncover form exploration and the diverse thinking that only sketching provides," explains Chris Gilbert, Principal Designer at Moen. "Sketchfest for us is a shared, communal process that brings together designers from around the world. We're all invested in this experience because we believe that together we can achieve something that is far greater than any one of us alone can accomplish."
Each year, Sketchfest takes place in a different location to provide a blank canvas of inspiration. Whether in Washington, D.C., Chicago or Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Western Pennsylvania, Moen's Global Design team capitalizes on these few days to create ideas for products that will delight consumers, completing hundreds of sketches. The most recent product that transitioned from sketch into reality is Moen's modern 90° kitchen and bath collection, an idea that originated at a previous Sketchfest. "In the case of 90°, our inspiration featured the primary themes of flat/thin and linear designs," explains Gilbert. "Our muses were products such as wafer-thin electronic devices, cell phones, jewelry, appliances and architectural elements."
At the conclusion of Sketchfest, the design team presents the sketches to Moen associates and the top designs are chosen for further refinement, with most of the initial work being done by hand -- a lost art in the digital age.
"At Moen, we think it's extremely valuable to create sketches by hand," added Gilbert. "Most companies today design products solely on computers; however since our products tend to be very sculptural, it's important to 'feel the form' and the scale of a faucet. When sketching by hand, the idea flows from the mind's eye to the arm to the hand and then to the paper, and it allows us to quickly explore a diverse range of concepts or forms. The designer's inspiration is realized and can be communicated to others."
To see more of the Moen Global Design team's Italian Sketchfest, click here: http://moen.co/SketchFest14. To learn more about Moen's product designs and the latest collections for the kitchen and bath, visit moen.com.
As the #1 faucet brand in North America, Moen offers a diverse selection of thoughtfully designed kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, accessories, bath safety products and kitchen sinks for residential applications -- each delivering the best possible combination of meaningful innovation, useful features, on-trend styling and lasting value. In addition, Moen® Commercial offers superior-performing products that deliver lower lifetime costs for today's facilities.
Moen's legacy of thoughtful design stemmed from an invention by Al Moen. In 1937, after burning himself at a sink with traditional single taps for hot and cold water, a young, determined Al Moen set about inventing a single-handle faucet designed to mix hot and cold. The invention, finalized in 1939, revolutionized the plumbing industry and set the stage for 75 years of innovation.
Moen is part of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (NYSE: FBHS), which creates products and services that help fulfill the dreams of homeowners and help people feel more secure. The Company's trusted brands include Moen® faucets, Master Lock® and Sentry® Safe security products, MasterBrand® cabinets and Therma-Tru® entry door systems. Fortune Brands holds market leadership positions in all of its segments. Fortune Brands is part of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information, please visit www.FBHS.com.