CrockPot came to AWOL Company with another interesting challenge: to help clean up the sprawling buffet of food that emerges throughout the year at holidays, parties, and family gatherings. We’re all familiar with the seemingly endless spread of culinary delights, often joined by one or more slow cookers, each taking up valuable table space, and each needing a power cord and receptacle.To bring some order to this chaos, we helped CrockPot envision a unique cooking solution that unifies several cooking vessels into one compact tower: the Swing & Serve multi-vessel slow cooker.
To begin this multi-phase design effort, we first explored a variety of slow cooker architectures, looking at how we could offer the widest range of vessel shapes and sizes, in the most compact size, and in the most intuitive layout. Foam models helped us assess the merits of each direction, and the winning layout combined a mix of large primary cooking volume with more compact swing-out vessels.
Once the architecture was established, we explored a range of aesthetic options that built on the CrockPot brand language. Through 2D sketch concepts, the AWOL team considered overall form, surface sculpting, points of interaction, part breakups, and color/material palates. The final direction combined a mix of durable controls and handles with sculpted stainless steel and plastic base structure.
Subsequent phases took the concept into 3D CAD, where we used Catia to construct successively more refined versions of the Swing & Serve. Preliminary prototypes placed in front of user panels confirmed we were on the right direction, and our team transitioned the final concept to CrockPot for engineering and development.
Our collaborations with the CrockPot design team resulted in a cooking and entertaining product that finally takes into account the way Americans celebrate: with tons of food. The Swing & Serve also was a finalist in the Housewares Innovation Awards 2016 competition.
Team members: Andy Logan, Chris Clark, Eduardo Salazar