Package & Design: Interview of Andreas Diefenbach in Chinese design magazine

SMART LIVING WITH LOGIC, MORALS, MAGIC - Interview of Andreas Diefenbach, Managing Partner Phoenix Design in Chinese Package & Design Magazine. The detailed answers give deep insights into the world of Phoenix Design.

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  • Text: Yishu Tan
    Co-Author: Franziska Warnke

    After 32 years of successful development, when the two founders handed over the management to the next generation, Phoenix Design has entered a new era. So, what is the secret of the often awarded and long-selling design? What is special about their creative philosophy and process? Why did this design company originated in Germany, open a branch office in China? The following is a great recap of the interview.

    Read the full interview as PDF download.

  • The Phoenix Design philosophy

    The Phoenix Design philosophy

    “Logic, Morals and Magic” – today, for tomorrow. It’s a philosophy as unique as it is idiosyncratic, since these terms are rather unusual in a design context. LOGIC is performance and wisdom. For design, logic penetrates the complexity of variables and draws the right conclusions for the customers. The results of our work are always realizable and pragmatic. MORALS is our attitude. The respect towards the client, the product, and the user - that determines our motivation and the consequences of actions. The solutions we create represent our integrity and responsibility to ourselves and others, as well as our social and cultural role as designers. At Phoenix, we want to design meaningful innovations that serve humanity and that make eminent sense. MAGIC is the emotional within the functional you cannot copy – the art to enthuse, the “wow” effect in each product. It stands for wonderful products and experiences, touching people and making their lives richer. Magical experiences have life-long repercussions, and magical products are loved by their owners their whole life long.

  • The importance of designing “interactions” - between product and user, between brand and consumer, and between designers and their clients

    The importance of designing “interactions” - between product and user, between brand and consumer, and between designers and their clients

    By conducting research, workshops, and iterative processes, integrated into joint processes, we get closer to the user as well to tomorrow’s architecture – one thing is for sure: projects get increasingly complex, varied, and strategic, and the solitary product is increasingly a short sequence embedded into an encompassing storyline. More physical products actively and reactively receive intelligence, that leads to the development of a more complex product ecosystem. Smart Living in all its many forms challenges the classic role of the designer, changing it into becoming the orchestrator of an atmosphere that’s ready for the future. Therefore, for us it is no longer a question of designing a product, but of designing a complete brand and business ecosystem. Designer has to be able to develop both a perspective and a plan, and who continues to be responsible for the substantial and differentiated design creation.

     

  • The combination of product design and digital design

    The combination of product design and digital design

    Since more than ten years, Phoenix Design has dynamically developed its digital competencies to combine this field of experience with its origins in product design. During the development of digital design, apart from analog operation elements, we increasingly developed digital HMIs which were well-suited for scaling and updating among the various prototypes within the product range. For long-term clients like Audi and Viessmann, Phoenix Design has thus transformed the interaction that’s typical for the respective brand from physical to digital across the entire product range. Over time, these touchpoints have turned into the real brand touchpoints, what proves that the direction we took at the time was right. So far, Phoenix Design has substantially expanded the competence area UX/UI design - interaction design, motion design, visual design through corresponding employees.

  • Phoenix Design’s key points in creating long-selling products that stand the test of time

    Phoenix Design’s key points in creating long-selling products that stand the test of time

    As a matter of principle, we think and design with a larger context. When designing products, we always orient ourselves along the way people will be living in the future. The classic roles of living quarters are undergoing change. Today, the bathroom represents a private oasis of well-being, a place of calm and relaxation, which for us should also have a very personal architectural language. So sanitary products go beyond their mere functionality and increasingly turn into aesthetic objects which support this feeling of well-being with special surfaces, materials, shapes, and most of all: services.

  • The design circle at Phoenix Design

    The design circle at Phoenix Design

    Decision making benefits from the team’s collective knowledge and outspoken opinions. It is important to have an open and protected feedback culture. One of the most prominent mechanisms at Phoenix is the Design Circle. It drives us to maximum performance and eliminates mediocrity. In addition, it gives every project lead orientation. This decisively shapes the dynamics and originality of Phoenix Design. The Design Circle sets the tone for everything that is created at Phoenix Design. Open discussions, lively debate, lightness of laughter and respectful handle are four basic ingredients for a fruitful and productive Design Circle.

  • Phoenix Design in China

    Phoenix Design in China

    China and Germany complement each other in many ways, and hence respect each other very much. Both are very strong locations when it comes to innovations, development, and manufacturing products. That’s why China has long since been of core importance to us. Our European clients need our experience in China, and in turn, Chinese companies can rely on our experience on the European market. We at Phoenix Design always like to take the organic route in order to develop our culture and our quality in a consistent and sustainable way. Moreover, we run an exchange program which gives our employees the opportunity to work a different location. Since we are one group, the consistency of our shared values is very important to us. At the same, we are aware that each location may and must have its own individuality. Our Shanghai studio, led by Yifan Zhang, is developing extraordinarily well.

  • Look to the future - development of product design

    Look to the future - development of product design

    Over the coming years, our lifestyle and digital products will have merged completely, harmoniously, and seamlessly. Design has always dealt with the dissolution and further development of things. Many products will find together within one new product. New product categories and archetypes will emerge. This change in technology combines the best features: a blend of the intelligence and adaptability of the digital world and the interactive and immersive experience of the real world. Product design of the future will, more than ever before, have to mediate and interact between human beings, objects, and the environment. The more integrated products will mediate emotionally and rationally between artificial and natural intelligence. In addition, we as designers will increasingly have to tackle topics like the circular economy in order to think and design product solutions that are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.

    We will continually reinvent ourselves and our partners to define the new standards in innovation and design – for a humane and sustainable future

  • Andreas Diefenbach, Managing Partner, Phoenix Design Stuttgart

    Andreas Diefenbach, Managing Partner, Phoenix Design Stuttgart

    Andreas Diefenbach (*1979) has been a Phoenix Design Managing Partner since 2019. He successfully finished his studies in Industrial Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design and the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. Since 2006, he has held several positions with Phoenix Design, most recently as a member of corporate management. As a specialist for the sanitary and investment goods industries, he has consulted international brands in their innovation process and is today responsible for the areas of Business Development, HR, and Marketing.

    “Leadership in design, and particularly in innovation, calls for a new perspective and for a culture of true creativity, for hungry development, for critical reflexion, and for variety full of curiosity. This capability for change is deeply engrained in the Phoenix Design DNA.” – Andreas Diefenbach

    adi (at) phoenixdesign.com
    M +49 173 729 4615

About Package & Design: With a history of 48 years, Package & Design is one of the most influential professional design magazines in China. Specializes in international design and communication, Package & Design is a bimonthly and bilingual magazine featuring graphic design, packaging design, brand identity, and industrial design, etc.

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Franziska Warnke Communication Manager
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M +49 173 7294632