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UNA Portable Outdoor Grill

UNA Portable Outdoor Grill

It started with a scorched table

The Soubra family lives all around the world. One day they came together and decided to have a barbecue to celebrate. Because there was no grill at hand, they improvised on the spot and created their own Do-It-Yourself grill. The dinner was delicious, but as a result of grilling on the table, the tabletop was scorched and ruined.

The story of UNA

Sherif and his father saw an opportunity in making outdoor grilling a new, more social experience. Their portable tabletop grill enables new ways of grilling, very different from the BBQ we all know. On the table, the grill serves as the center of your outdoor meal. There’s no need for a garden, a balcony is enough, or take it for a picknick in the park. The activity of grilling becomes more social, portions are smaller, and it inspires people to try new and more varied recipes. We helped Sherif to develop a product that would make tabletop grilling a safe, care-free, and enjoyable activity.

 

It's amazing to see all the interest the Una grill generated, I cannot thank you enough for the brilliant job you did!
Sherif Soubra

The creative challenge

The job we had to do was to make tabletop grilling attractive for a new audience, for example, young people living in an urban environment. We explored what type of usage and design language would fit their lifestyle. We found the balance in a desirable product that has just the right kind of functionality. We created a compact grill with a lot of grilling power. We added some smart features so it can be used anytime, anywhere: the leather handle makes it easy to take along, it can be closed off with a lid, which is easily reversible and doubles as a stand – which does not get hot. The UNA grill creates a new category of outdoor cooking products.

The creative challenge

The job we had to do was to make tabletop grilling attractive for a new audience, for example, young people living in an urban environment. We explored what type of usage and design language would fit their lifestyle. We found the balance in a desirable product that has just the right kind of functionality. We created a compact grill with a lot of grilling power. We added some smart features so it can be used anytime, anywhere: the leather handle makes it easy to take along, it can be closed off with a lid, which is easily reversible and doubles as a stand – which does not get hot. The UNA grill creates a new category of outdoor cooking products.

The pathfinder process for start-ups

Working with Sherif, we found that he had a true passion for his idea and he demonstrated real persistence in getting his product to market. Sherif is originally from Beirut, Lebanon, where food plays an important role in bringing people together. From his enthusiasm for food and people, he already ran a platform called eetclub.nl, and he has a background in the family’s trading business. As a start-up his experience in product development is limited, so we decided to use a different approach in our process. The pathfinder process uses more but smaller steps so Sherif could maintain control and understanding of the process.

 

Secondly, we discovered that communication shouldn’t be limited to big presentations at the end of a development phase. It was more effective to have a constant dialogue about big issues as well as small details. Thirdly, we had to make our process very lean to make the best use of limited resources, in terms of time as well as budget. We created a concept where prototyping, testing and starting up production could be achieved while limiting investments, for example for tooling. This characterizes the process for start-ups that quickly reveals the way to viable solutions: The Pathfinder process.

 

The pathfinder process for start-ups

Working with Sherif, we found that he had a true passion for his idea and he demonstrated real persistence in getting his product to market. Sherif is originally from Beirut, Lebanon, where food plays an important role in bringing people together. From his enthusiasm for food and people, he already ran a platform called eetclub.nl, and he has a background in the family’s trading business. As a start-up his experience in product development is limited, so we decided to use a different approach in our process. The pathfinder process uses more but smaller steps so Sherif could maintain control and understanding of the process.

 

Secondly, we discovered that communication shouldn’t be limited to big presentations at the end of a development phase. It was more effective to have a constant dialogue about big issues as well as small details. Thirdly, we had to make our process very lean to make the best use of limited resources, in terms of time as well as budget. We created a concept where prototyping, testing and starting up production could be achieved while limiting investments, for example for tooling. This characterizes the process for start-ups that quickly reveals the way to viable solutions: The Pathfinder process.

 

Safety

When you are developing products, you have to take safety very seriously. The Soubra family had already experienced that the heat can cause damage to the table. One of the focus points of the development was to control the heat transfer to the table surface and to limit material deformation.

 

Because UNA is meant for food preparation materials and the coatings had to be food approved, also when temperatures get high. We went through a long series of prototypes and tests to make sure that it complies with all code requirements and optimize to the product in terms of safety and functionality.

 

Safety

When you are developing products, you have to take safety very seriously. The Soubra family had already experienced that the heat can cause damage to the table. One of the focus points of the development was to control the heat transfer to the table surface and to limit material deformation.

 

Because UNA is meant for food preparation materials and the coatings had to be food approved, also when temperatures get high. We went through a long series of prototypes and tests to make sure that it complies with all code requirements and optimize to the product in terms of safety and functionality.

 

FLEX/design as ‘Jack of all Trades’

We designed the brand identity, art directed photography, designed the packaging and even developed the booth for the trade shows where the UNA grill was introduced. All design activities were executed by the small group of FLEX designers in order to make the process lean. Because our designers created the concept and developed the product, they knew exactly how to design all the different touchpoints in the journey that consumers and professional buyers make when they are looking for a grill.

FLEX/design as ‘Jack of all Trades’

We designed the brand identity, art directed photography, designed the packaging and even developed the booth for the trade shows where the UNA grill was introduced. All design activities were executed by the small group of FLEX designers in order to make the process lean. Because our designers created the concept and developed the product, they knew exactly how to design all the different touchpoints in the journey that consumers and professional buyers make when they are looking for a grill.

Introduction of the UNA grill

The UNA grill was successfully introduced on Kickstarter, and on the garden trade fair Spoga in Cologne and the Ambiente in Frankfurt. It has been the basis for a significant sales volume in the first year of introduction. UNA can be found in various stores on-line and off-line around the world and is currently one of the three best sellers in the MoMA Design Store.

Introduction of the UNA grill

The UNA grill was successfully introduced on Kickstarter, and on the garden trade fair Spoga in Cologne and the Ambiente in Frankfurt. It has been the basis for a significant sales volume in the first year of introduction. UNA can be found in various stores on-line and off-line around the world and is currently one of the three best sellers in the MoMA Design Store.

Senior Designer

If you want to learn more about how we can help start-ups with design prototyping and testing get in touch with John