A Production From Down Below
Prof. Robert Fee
Table of Contents
Under the kitchen sink: We want to use it, we hate to use
it, and it’s one of the most conspicuously unused areas of
the kitchen. While kitchens and their appliances becoming
more innovative, this one area remains mostly unaltered
and almost forgotten in the process. It is an area we are all
certainly familiar with, but cannot define a purpose.
Through a study of under the kitchen sink, our team will
utilize the following few weeks to gather information,
analyze and interpret this data, and create a space that
is better incorporated within the kitchen system. While
working together, with varied strengths, our synthesis and
connections will provide a better, more comprehensive
While we concentrate on a holistic iterative design process
we are continually re-framing our approach. Our team will
focus on maintaining current equipment, feasible production, and simplified function. User experience is paramount, by fulfilling end user needs,all stakeholders within
the process will be subsequently be fulfilled. Our team will
concentrate around the ideology of under the sink as part
of a set of systems. The closest, and the one we will focus
on, is the kitchen sink system.
Statement of Purpose
For this project our team will begin by looking at the
current and past uses of the sink and the area below.
This information will be gathered from several countries
for a large cultural cross section of our sample. Through
this data, we will begin focusing on defining user groups
of consumers in order to better understand the human
experience within the kitchen. We intend to compare these
insights with research focusing on emerging technology
implementations and current aesthetic trends.
Our team will begin this project with the collection of data,
both primary and secondary. Using traditional data sources, we will be able to frame the system in which we would
like to address. This data and the geolocation information
will be further analyzed. With this data our team will be
able to identify opportunities, product niches,and areas
that can be improved or changed in order to create a better
Create a product or system which will enhance the experience of end users of the under the sink area. By focusing
on our findings from contextual research, user experiences,
and our design processes, we will apply what we learn to
create something truly innovative.
- Redesign / Reinvent
By looking at all facets of the sink we will be able to
produce an original concept that improves the kitchen
Through research of current trends we hope to not only
create a new kitchen experience, but simultaneously
focus on something aesthetically pleasing.
- Expand Uses
By comparing both primary and secondary research of
users current interactions with their kitchen area, we will
be able to see what functions within the kitchen can be
further evolved for more applied uses.
- See varied viewpoints
Through contextual research we will find that people
have their own taste about their kitchen. They want to
rearrange the appliances according to their own using
- Enhance use
By analyzing the data we collected about how people
use the kitchen area, we will be able to identify which
steps can be reduced and which will allow people to
have an effective experience.
- Disrupt market
With substantial research and a focused design process,
we want to design a system capable of disrupting an
We will create a concept that has its own character, but
also has the ability to work seamlessly with other appliances in current kitchen condition.
It is very important to keep to a price that is reasonable
in order to occupy the market. Also, reasonable price
leave the monetary space for both manufacturers and
dealers to sell the unit.
- Predetermined bias
Through contextual research we want to understand and
visualize the issues that are associated with the under
the kitchen sink area. By understanding bias we are
able to understand the psychology of the end user and
the choices they make.
- Cultural differences
We will compose contextual research across a number
of varied countries in order to gain a varied sample of
how the area under the kitchen sink is utilized.
- Manufacturing practices
Our creative solution can be limited by our current skill
set and devices available for manufacturing.
- Existing components / Future technology
Our teams objective to is to move through our design
process with existing and feasible technology as constraints.
- Change viewpoint
We have the opportunity to not only change our own
preconceived notions about the under the sink area, but
also the end user.
When designing our area under the kitchen sink, we
plan on furthering both our own knowledge and the end
user’s knowledge of the space and its essential components.
However complex the community of systems within the
kitchen may be, our team wishes to refine those processes and experiences.
- Enhance Use
With data collaborating the current uses of the sink and
under the sink areas, we hope to improve the experience of these applications.
- Positive Experience
Through our solution for the area under the kitchen sink,
we will create a new creative approach that will enhance
the end users experience within the kitchen.
- Create a commercial viable product
It is our team’s goal to successfully design a system
which could be produced and implemented in a fashion
that would be profitable to all parties.
Phase 1 (3 weeks)
Phase 2 (3 weeks)
The budget for this project is broken down into three phases.
By breaking down the expense structure, we allow more flex5-Member Team
ibility and an approach that allows our team and the client to
375 Man Hours
move forward in confidence.
$50 Extended Cost per Hour
Phase Total: $27,210
-Internal labor costs directly associated with the project.
5 Total Hours
Hourly wages takes into account: insurance, taxes, vacation,
$100 per Hour
and other benefits.
-Respective experts and professionals with unique perspec
tives and invaluable contributions.
-Includes costs associated to legal document, financial fees,
printing, licensing, and travel.
-Building and infrastructure expenses.
-These services include interviews, surveys, video production
and process books.
375 Man Hours
$50 Extended Cost per Hour
Phase Total: $29,010
5 Total Hours
$100 per Hour
Phase 3 (3 weeks)
375 Man Hours
$50 Extended Cost per Hour
Final Process Book
5 Total Hours
$100 per Hour
Phase Total: $35,010
The schedule for our team is based on a 10-week presentation
deadline. The schedule was made for a multidisciplinary
team. With many different facets to the project, it is important for each deliverable to have a clear blueprint to completion. The schedule provides a framework that will give our
team the structure needed to focus our efforts efficiently.
To further understand the kitchen, we needed to focus on
the interaction of the user with the kitchen system. For our
research we gathered both secondary and primary data by
using a number of contextual research methods. For our secondary research we not only looked into current solutions for
under the sink, but looked into the 1% and future technology.
Our primary research focused on users direct experience with
their kitchen system and the area under the sink through
interviews, surveys and digital documentation. By using this
methodology we were able to gain a more comprehensive
view of the kitchen system experience.
Secondary (1% & Future Tech)
By researching implementations of the 1% and future tech,
usually seen within design forward publications or an affluent client, we can anticipate trends and aesthetic qualities
before they reach the mainstream consumer.
Secondary (Current Use)
The core of our research is built around an understanding of
the current paradigm. By exploring the typical and atypical
uses for the area under the sink, and the interaction of the
user within the system to perform each use, we can develop
insights to improve the users overall experience.
Primary (Friends & Family)
We began our primary research locally gathering pictures
and conducting talks with friends and family. While this is a
relatively small sample size, it provided us with some confirmation of assumptions made heuristically.
Interviews were very beneficial to our team’s research. Our
team was able to gain information from ten different people
located throughout China and the U.S. By sitting down and
talking to the people who interact with these systems every
day provided a clarity to our research that lacked during the
early stages. During the interviews the users were given an
opportunity to talk about what helped facilitate a positive
experience in the kitchen, as well as how parts of the system
could be improved. The results collected through the interview
provided our team with a perspective of bias and personal
Place living now: _________________
Do you work on your own sink, or does someone else?
Do you find the area under the kitchen sink of more inconvenience than a useful space?
Where are your cleaning supplies stored?
Where is your trash can located?
Have you used a kitchen that was not yours, do you likes/dislikes it?
What do you find the most uncomfortable in your own kitchen?
If you could utilize one area of the kitchen that is not, what would it be?
If you could add something to your kitchen what would it be?
Is there an item which you would like to store in the kitchen but can't?
Surveys gave our team the means to access a sample size
that would truly be indicative of the sentiment and how users
interact with their kitchen. Surveys provided a large amount
of information in a short time, with lower costs. While the
data is less rich than that collected in the interviews, with a
large enough sample we were able to normalize the results
for a glimpse into user habits around the world.
For our collection method we utilized an online crowd-sourcing tool, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, to source our survey.
Using this tool our team was able to collect over 600 surveys
from around the world. A sample of this size helped reinforce interview data as well as highlighting outliers.
What is your gender?
At the conclusion of our research our team was able to
analyze the data we had collected. Through interviews and
surveys our team compiled a variety of visualizations to gain
some insight into the kitchen experience. By developing
these insights, about kitchen and the systems used within,
our team was able to create a unique approach. Our team
identified the major objectives defined by the insight gained
through our contextual research. Objectives which will guide
our team and frame the project value proposition.
This inforgraphic was created to help visualize both the
quantitative and qualitative data collected from our survey
results. This helped lead to the development of insights and
confirmation of personal observations.
Do you own or rent your home?
What is your age?
How would you describe your experience
within your personal kitchen?
Do you have to explain, direct
people who use your kitchen?
How do you use your kitchen?
Do you like your kitchen sink?
How often do you use the Garbage Disposal | Use your Trash Can | Drink water from the Tap?
Using the infographic and the results of both primary and
secondary research, our team could begin to understand the
interaction between the user and the kitchen system. Our
team gain valuable perspective on how users view these
systems and the role of the under sink area in the kitchen
experience. We found that there was a growing disconnect,
not a negative experience, but one that supports worldwide
ambiguity. By conducting research in different markets
around the world we were able to find the similarities, both
in applications and implementation of the systems that
make up and surround the under the kitchen sink area. This
understanding is imperative for the implantation of a market
“Cleaning supplies are the best thing to
put under the sink.”
“I love the huge space, but it is hard to
reach that stuff without moving my feet.”
“I'm not throwing trash in a hidden
storage under the sink. It’s gross!.”
“I want something to roll out,
not all in the back.”
Our team used the insights gained to create three unique
personas. These personas are designed to embody typical
user types. Our team used these personas during the
ideation process, creating solutions for a specific persona,
which can later be applied to the final solution.
22 Years Old
26 Years Old
33 Years Old
Brad is a 22 year old student in the USA. He lives with 2
other males around his age. Most of his kitchen use is to
clean dirty dishes. The under the sink area is dark and
damp, hardly organized, and damp from fallen cleaner.
Brad is unconcerned with the condition of his under the
sink area. It is full of hardly touched cleaning supplies,
dish rags and towels, some garbage bags and grocery
bags. He rents the unit from a local landlord who wishes it
was easier to maintain and take apart to check things like
the garbage disposal.
Yue is a single mother in China. She lives in a home owned
by her parents. She cooks and cleans in her kitchen. She
likes to keep it neat and uses a variety of organizing tools
to better use the space under the sink. If something goes
wrong with the plumbing or water filter, she asks her
father for help before asking the professionals. She stores
towels, soap and garbage bags on one side and rice on the
other. Yue keeps the kitchen area clean most of the time
but would still never let a visitor look under the sink. She
wishes there were an easy way to change the filter so she
didn’t have to bother her father.
Nathalie is a 33 year old professional in France. Spending
most of her time working or in transition from work she
does not find time to fully utilize her kitchen. Nathalie
often entertains professional friends in a casual setting
that usually includes hors d’oeuvres and drinks, but not
dinner. She uses the sink mostly for cleaning and for washing a small number of dishes. Under her sink, she stores
mostly cleaning supplies, trash can, and paper towels.
Nathalie rents her apartment and has on site maintenance
for any problem with her sink. Nathalie would like to be
able to use her space more efficiently, as she has a small
Using insights gained from this research we developed a
unique approach for creating a solution for under the sink.
Through iteration during our process our team focused
on modularity for components, minimalist aesthetics, and
practical implementation. By focusing these concepts around
user interaction our team will create a solution supported by
extensive research and insights.
For the kitchen users with explicit and implied needs, our
design will reassert a purpose for under the kitchen sink
while maintaining form, utility, balance, and function within the kitchen system. This will be accomplished through
contextual research, examining dominant paradigms, and
exploring cross cultural implementation. Unlike current
solutions our design will transcend the global market, while
providing a platform for a variety of uses, unrivaled in the
The ideation process began with a foundation in research.
As our team started the process we focused on the objectives of aesthetics, expressed and implied uses, compatibility, and implementation. Using ABC..Q methodology as
a framework for ideation, our team developed series of
sketches. “A” representing current uses, “B” as plumbing
and sink configurations, “C” demonstrating modularity,
and our “Q” being experimental options. Our implementation of a variety of collaboration techniques promoted
iteration during the ideation process.
The collection of sketches and renderings depicting our teams
final solution show part of the final stage in the design
process. While our team went through several iterations on
prototype, sketches and 3D models, these sketches show the
culmination of our team’s process.
Our team created these final sketches after doing user testing
with the prototype. These sketches began as quick thoughts
about the changes our team encountered during testing.
Using sketches our team was able to conceptualize changes
quickly and efficiently.
The next phase of the project involved the creation of
prototypes allowing visualization and physical manipulation
of proposed parts. Our team used foam and cardboard to
create scale models of the sketches. As parts are refined and
finalized each would be replicated in a digital 3D model. Our
team conducted a number of user tests during the ideation
process as well as fit and material tests.
These tests are very rich in user interaction data because of
the physical interaction with the model. Creating a prototype
is essential to the design process as well as providing the
client with a physical artifact.
Using 3D modeling software our team created a digital model
of our solution. By creating a 3D model our team can create
a picture of what the solution could look like in unique implementations. By using our physical prototype, sketches, and
known constraints we created a rendering of our team’s final
solution. These renderings show product detail and material
texture not seen in hand drawings.
(Trash) Modular Components
(Filter, Heater, Softener)
Two Level Sink
Seamless Push Open Doors
Proprietary Easy Connection
Easy Access Cut
Our team came to this solution after synthesis of our in-depth
contextual research. Using insights gained from this research
we developed a unique approach for creating a solution for
under the sink. Through iteration during our process our
team focused on modularity for components, minimalist
aesthetics, and practical implementation. By focusing on this
re-frame from insights of the under the sink area, our team
created a solitary system implemented within the holistic
kitchen environment to promote positive user experience.