As part of its ongoing effort to expand and enhance the role of design across its key business processes, American Standard Brands recently welcomed three additions to the company’s design team. Emilie Williams, Greg Reinecker and Gabriela Ravassa are working at the Company’s design studio at headquarters in Piscataway, NJ, reporting to new Vice President – Design Jean-Jacques L’Hénaff.
Emilie Williams, as associate design director for faucets, leads all design projects for that category. Williams formerly served as senior designer at Ignite USA, where she designed and developed housewares products for the Contigo and AVEX brands. Previously, Williams spent eight years as lead industrial designer at Delta Faucet and senior designer at the Masco Corporation, where she worked on the Brizo brand. She holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from North Carolina State University.
Greg Reinecker, as lead designer, oversees industrial design projects from concept through implementation across various product categories. Reinecker has worked with two leading design consultancies — Teams Design in Chicago and Axis Design in Austin, Texas — and brings over 10 years of experience in multiple industries, including power tools and housewares.
Gabriela Ravassa, working as industrial designer, pursues projects across all categories, but is currently focused on trade faucet lines for American Standard and DXV, the company’s new flagship luxury bathroom and kitchen brand. A graduate of Parson School of Design, Ravassa worked with eyewear brand Don Vetro, as well as OMHU, a Scandinavian brand specialized in elegant mobility aid products for the elderly.
The new trio brings the current U.S. design team to six members ― including L’Hénaff; Alyson Lyons, lead designer; and Christophe Bucher, chief industrial designer – chinaware products ― plus three associates located in manufacturing facilities overseas. L’Henaff joined the Company in October 2013 in the position of vice president – design. “Jean-Jacques is leading us in a forward-thinking direction, creating world-class product design for products that perform fabulously while looking beautiful and meeting the high-style demands of today’s customer,” said American Standard President and CEO Jay Gould.
Prior to joining the company, L’Hénaff has been a design executive for Kohler Asia, Audiovox, and Terk Technologies, and held various design management positions for consulting firms such as Henry Dreyfuss Associates and The Arnell Group in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Product and Transportation Design from Ecole Superieure de Design Industriel in Paris.
In reinvigorating the design function at American Standard, L’Hénaff and his team have taken a more “user-centric approach to the design process,” he said. “It is all about the user’s experience. We focus not only on the product’s look, feel and function, but also on the overall experience we want the user to have when interacting with them.”
The keys to this approach are two-fold. The first is a commitment to validating new design concepts by submitting them to first-hand consumer testing early in the development process. “The idea is to test our prototypes early, learn early and repeat that cycle again and again until we obtain the right experience,” he said.
The second key is closer ongoing communications among team members, including their colleagues in China. “One designer may focus on faucets, another on bathing and another on chinaware, but we cannot work in silos without regard for each other’s challenges and perspectives,” said L’Hénaff. “Each American Standard or DXV product is a brand ambassador, so all of us are involved in building the brand, and each is on board with what’s happening with our product line as a whole. We have been given this unique opportunity to build on fifteen decades of design tradition and re-interpret it for 2015 and beyond. We are intent on making the most of it.”