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Smart Design, Smart Garden, Smart Life

Smart Design, Smart Garden, Smart Life

The modern and sophisticated design of the Bosch SmartGrow appliance provides you with great taste in more than just the spice compartment. They are as much a designer home accessory, as they are a gift to nature lovers and foodies alike. To learn more about the design secrets behind the latest version our brand Bosch’s indoor gardening solution, we spoke to Sascha Leng, SmartGrow’s lead Product Designer.

While the world moves towards an increasingly interconnected life, humans are also facing a growing need to get back in touch with nature. At BSH, we choose to work towards a world where the latest technology is an ally, helping us get back to our roots and reconnect with nature by choosing a more sustainable lifestyle.

In the home of the future, you can grow pretty much anything you want, whenever, and wherever you want at the touch of a button. Only, that future is already here, and thanks to Sascha Leng and his team, it is beautifully designed.

 

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Sascha Leng with the SmartGrow Life appliance

Consumer centricity at its best

SmartGrow’s agile cross-functional team developed the appliance’s entire design concept around the needs and experiences of consumers. “To kick off the design sprint we immediately got in contact with existing and potential target consumers via digital channels and customer support in order to understand wishes and concerns”, explains Sascha.

This way, by constantly checking in with consumers, the team could count on fast feedback that allowed them to improve the product throughout the whole creation process. The result is an appliance tailored to fulfill consumer’s demands and preferences. For example: one important consumer wish is that the appliance should be seen, but not heard, which is why the smart pump was designed to carry an almost inaudible water level checking. “We also addressed feedback like ‘the cable is in the way when cutting the plants' by creating a bowl which is separated from all electronic components. With that, we not only solved the cable concern but also created a 'wow moment' for the consumer, as the bowl can easily be taken out for serving directly at the dinner table”, Sascha adds.

 

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Design sketch for one of the SmartGrow Life’s prototypes

 

The futuristic slim look also comes from consumers’ valuable input: “We were working quite closely with our future target consumers within several design thinking sprints to understand what fits best into their home and lifestyle. A slim shape was a clear favorite among the majority, mainly due to its space-saving and aesthetic appeal. SmartGrow Life being a lifestyle product and not a device, we also wanted to put the plants in the focus. So we designed it in a way to give the plants a stage to shine”, says Sascha.

 

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LED lights inspired by the different colors of the Northern lights complement the slim futuristic look of the SmartGrow. Each specific color spectrum perfectly matches and boosts the different growing phases of the plants

 

Consumer preference and taste is also at the heart of how the appliance can be used at home. “This personalization aspect was very important to us, so we gave consumers the freedom to express themselves”, Sascha reveals. This self-identification element can be found not only in the huge variety (50+) of plants that the consumer can choose from but also in how the versatile design can easily be used as focal point to any indoor decoration.

As for his own preference, Sascha did not hesitate:

“One thing I really like is the possibility to have a peek at the little plants when they are in the germination phase through the transparent light hat. I actually do that every morning to see how they do when they are still small. It’s kind of like with little babies and watching them growing bigger each day”, says the designer.

Smart home, smart garden

The home of the future is well designed and fully connected: From televisions to fridges, it all happens online. With SmartGrow, as the name suggests, users can benefit from a connected indoor garden as well. The technological integration with the plants comes in the form of a smartphone app, and although the purpose of a smart garden appliance might not be clear at first, Sascha explains that it all lies in the consumer’s experience. 

“For us, indoor gardening is a whole experience. So you get everything you need there in the app. Be it notifications when to refill, checking on the growth phase of your plants, a lot of inspirational stuff or just help if something is not working the way it should”, Sascha states.

As for the design, the app follows the same design principles as the appliance itself: Minimalistic and sophisticated design with the plants as the center.

 

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With the SmartGrow app, you can track the growth of your plants and access valuable tips

Words of wisdom

“The SmartGrow seems like a really simple appliance. But the more we dug into the subject, the more we noticed how complex it actually is. Some things we completely had to reinvent. Therefore, we had to change and adapt the design on the way alongside new findings and solutions. My biggest learning: With a passionate team – almost – everything is possible and super fun”, Sascha concludes.

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BSH all over the world.

BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, with a total turnover of some EUR 15.6 billion and 62,000 employees in 2022, is a global leader in the home appliance industry. The company’s brand portfolio includes eleven well-known appliance brands like Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau and Neff as well as the ecosystem brand Home Connect and service brands like Kitchen Stories. BSH produces at 40 factories and is represented in some 50 countries. BSH is a Bosch Group company.