Interview with designer Constantino Papatsoris (CP), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design The Coanda Ceiling Fan.

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Interview with Constantino Papatsoris at Friday 18th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
CP : We are in the era of the "Internet of Things," where smart, connected devices are becoming more and more ubiquitous in the home, with devices such as Internet-enabled baby monitors, lightbulbs, and even thermostats. The Coanda is a smart, learning ceiling fan that connects to the Internet in order to let its owner control temperature settings as well as adapt to changing environmental conditions and weather variations to provide optimal temperature and energy settings. The device is also a redesign of the function of traditional ceiling fans, applying the Coanda effect and the Bernoulli principle, and drawing inspiration from other ventilation systems in the market, such as laptop computer fans and industrial air amplifiers.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
CP : We wanted to bring innovation into a household appliance whose design seems to have remained largely ignored over the last few decades. Keeping in mind that the amount of energy required to run a ceiling fan is far lower than the energy required to run an HVAC unit, we also wanted to create a device that people would find easy to use, as well as beautiful to have in their homes, in order to help users save money on their energy bills, while also helping the environment in reducing overall energy costs.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
CP : The device would ideally work best when paired with a smart thermostat. We would like to see it go into production, but as students, we do not possess the means to bring this concept to reality. We are in the process of registering the intellectual property behind this design, and we are open to a partnership with any entity willing to help us bring it to market.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
CP : The main idea behind this concept came about in June of 2013. All the work that led to the realization of the winning design began in January of 2014, and took three months to complete.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
CP : We were pursuing an inspiration, motivated by the desire to turn a commonplace household item into something that would provide more utility, savings, and excitement to the average user, while helping reduce the energy drain in the average household.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
CP : This is a student project, an we have no current plans to produce the product ourselves at this time. We are open to selling or leasing the production rights to this design.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
CP : We noticed an opportunity in the "Smart Home" trend, where Internet connectivity could help increase the value and utility of the average ceiling fan, while helping to provide a more comprehensive and detailed temperature control system for the home.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
CP : We looked for inspiration in many places, and we found useful reference in the designs of laptop computer fans, particularly those in the current MacBook models. We also looked at many different designs for industrial air amplifiers, and the aesthetic of the design was inspired by a desire to create something as engaging as the Dyson bladeless fan.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
CP : Our target customer is a young professional, aged 30-45, who is interested in technology, owns a smartphone, has disposable income, and has recently moved into a new home. He or she is concerned with energy savings, both from a financial and environmental point of view, and is interested in using technology to achieve optimal comfort in his or her life.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
CP : To our knowledge, there is no other concept for a smart ceiling fan in the market. The nearest thing to a smart temperature control system is the smart thermostat, of which you can find products on the market by companies such as Nest, Tado, Allure Energy and Honeywell. The design of the fan itself is also completely different from the average ceiling fan, where it has no visible blades, a smaller overall diameter, and uses air pressurizing systems based on the Coanda effect and the Bernoulli Principle to distribute air around the room.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
CP : The Coanda is named after Henri Coanda, the Rumanian scientist that discovered the principle of fluid dynamics that state that air (or liquids) takes the shape and direction of the shape of the object it comes into contact with. Since this principle is pivotal to the function of our design, we decided to name it in his honor.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
CP : Sketching, rapid prototyping, SolidWorks, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, KeyShot.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
CP : There are two equally unique aspects to this design: first, the physical design has no visible fan blades and a design that propels air via a pressurizing system as opposed to a rotating blade system. Second, the device is connected to the internet and is controlled primarily via the owner's smartphone, as opposed to clunky chains hanging from the device, switches, or dials.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
CP : The design was developed by Constantino Papatsoris and Santiago Castillo, with the guidance from professor John McCabe of the Savannah College of Art & Design.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
CP : Technology helps this device remain connected to the Internet, helping it read the local weather and season, in order to adjust blade speed, as well as direction in order to allow for thermal destratification, where cool air is pushed upwards in cooler rooms in order to propel the warmer air downwards, thus reducing the load of heaters in the winter time. From an industrial point of view, technology used in other industries such as technology and industrial cleaning helped us redesign the look and function of the device and rethink what a ceiling fan could be.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
CP : We conducted preliminary research in order to gain an understanding of the demand for such a device in current market conditions and trends. We conducted contextual research in order to understand most users' pain points with current ceiling fans in the marker. We also conducted research on the scientific principles regarding air flow, aerodynamics, and air pressure in order to understand how to shape the device in a way that could provide optimal air distribution. Finally, we researched other industries where air distribution and propulsion systems in order to gain insight into other methods of air distribution that could be more effective than what traditional ceiling fans in the market offer.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
CP : The biggest challenge was finding a way to attach the device to the ceiling of the room without blocking the airflow necessary in order for it to work at optimal efficiency. Our second largest challenge was coming up with a perfectly symmetrical design so that when the fan blades switch direction, the device would function in the same way, but providing destratification instead of cooling.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
CP : We had talked about working on this design for a few months, but since we both had other commitments to our current schoolwork, nothing seemed to come of it, until we were encouraged by our classes to create something for a competition. We took it as an opportunity to prove that this design was viable.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
CP : We started out thinking that the best solution would simply be a traditional five-blade design with a small computer attached to it. Upon furthering our research and through iteration, we learned that there are more efficient ways to distribute air across a room, so our design evolved into a more innovative solution.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
CP : There is another component to this design, which has not yet been finalized in its design: the smartphone app that would control the device.