What will remain?

Let’s be honest: we all of us want to make our mark. Biologists want to develop vaccines against rare diseases, physicists want to explain the phenomena of nature, and authors want to write that classic which will outlive time and be omnipresent in libraries. In much the same vein, designers want to design products which will be found in homes and stores even many years after their initial market launch – for that will be proof of users still being happy with them.

Our warehouse contains treasures of German brand history out of 30 years of design – from our first drafts and rough models to 1: 1 prototypes which look just like the originals.

“Design makes brands strong and companies successful”
– German Design Council

As to us, we will not content ourselves with what we’ve achieved, instead we are tirelessly working on creating the bestsellers of tomorrow. This holds true today, and it will hold true in the future. But how about the past? Which are the projects we remember? Over the years, we were able to celebrate many great successes together with our clients, we defined new milestones together, and we designed bestsellers and longsellers. A selection.

Cases in point are the Loewe Reference System, born at a time when TV sets were still purely technical products and little thought was given to the outer material and its appearance. By using high-quality aluminium, stainless steel, and glass, we gave our client the opportunity to set new accents in the electronics market which triggered a new way of thinking. The technical product increasingly turned into a stand-alone decoration element, an eye-catcher elegantly integrated into the living room.


Together with Hansgrohe, it was the first Raindance shower head which became a bestseller. Prior to that, the principle was simple: the larger the number of different jet types, the better. At the time, we decided to design a showerhead providing only one type of jet – but a better one than all the ones that had come before it. Also new: the handy, short grip. Thus, Hansgrohe marked the transition to a unique shower experience, a promise already visually implicit in the product. The reception was so positive that the product was frequently copied. Upsetting yes, but also an honour. Today we are one step further: the intuitive operation of the Raindance E 120 switches between the different types of jets per EasyClick for a comfortable shower pleasure.

For Lamy, we were able to design a customizable fountain pen which has developed into a longseller. The special thing about it: by combining different grips, casings, and nibs in different materials and shapes, customers can determine themselves which combination to select. Thus even buying the pen is already an experience – and after getting advice and trying the pen out, customers end up with a unique fountain pen perfectly adapted to their personal style of writing.

But what is the secret of products like these? It is design made of Logic, Morals, and Magic. The products have to be convincing in terms of their function, be well-crafted and easy to use. And then there’s the product longevity – because customers like them, but also because of their sustainable components. Still, emotion must not be lacking, because the product also needs to touch its users. In a word: the product must be compelling both on a rational and on an emotional level.

Tom Schönherr
Tom Schönherr

Founder, Managing Partner

In 1987, Tom Schönherr founded the design studio Phoenix Design in Stuttgart, together with Andreas Haug. After completing his design studies at the “Akademie der Bildenden Künste” (Academy of the Fine Arts) in Stuttgart, Tom Schönherr was Senior Designer with frogdesign, where he met Andreas Haug. Since the late 1980’s, Phoenix Design has developed to become one of the top addresses worldwide for product and interaction design.


Since 1987, Phoenix Design has been designing interaction: between the product and the user, between the brand and the consumer, between designers and their clients.
In this blog we regularly tell about the past 30 years, the present and the future at Phoenix Design.


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