The Design Story Main

The Design Story

We live in a designed world and we believe everybody
deserves good design.

We are curious about people. How they cook, what they cook and how they get the best out of their kitchen appliances. This is where hidden insights wait to be uncovered. We set out with a clear goal in mind – to reinvent the 60cm oven from the inside out.

We wanted to make an oven that gave perfect results, every time, for every type of food. We knew customers wanted more space inside their oven. Fisher & Paykel’s heritage company Shacklock had been designing leading edge ovens since 1871. Pioneering designs for pioneering families, these ovens were big and strong and multi functional. Over time as kitchen appliances became smaller, more refined and easier to clean, built-in ovens had taken the small, European-style as the standard.

Throughout the last decade it became clear that the small oven cavity wasn’t suited to the many different ways of cooking that a global market demanded. Our customers wanted to be able to roast a large leg of lamb and still have space for a dish of potatoes, and we saw them struggling to fit them both in at the same time. We wondered if we could make an oven that had a large internal cavity – larger than any other comparable oven – without compromising the cooking quality, evenness and efficiency. As we recorded insights into how people cooked, we thought of ways we could solve each problem. Our engineers went back to basics. Rather than tweaking the existing design of our ovens to work a little better, we started at the beginning.

Our aim was to perfect each part, then put these innovations together to create the best possible oven. This was the starting point for rethinking the oven. But it also led us to look closely at our other frustrations with the standard oven we had become used to. Those small ovens had a tightly closed compartment that didn’t dry roast well. Moisture had nowhere to escape to. Family foods like roasts and treats like pavlova struggled in this humid setting. Condensation would drip down the oven door. Perfect cooking results require precise control of temperature along with control of moisture levels. Finding a solution to removing the extra moisture while tightly sealing the cavity to keep heat inside was a new innovation developed with our engineering and design teams expertise. We watched customers struggle to decipher the cooking symbols for various functions; we saw them nervous about letting their children near the hot glass door; and we saw them toil to clean their oven.

We paid a lot of attention to resolving the little details that make this oven a premium appliance. The fine linear detail that defines the Fisher & Paykel family of cooking appliances; the stainless steel dials with glowing red bezels; and the innovative venting system that allows us to use fewer panes of glass in the oven door while keeping the safety features of being cool-touch yet lighter to open and close than other oven doors.

We saw that the oven is the heart of the kitchen and that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is no longer the room at the back of the house – it is the hub of social activity.


Lauren Palmer
Chief Designer
Fisher & Paykel Appliances

As Chief Designer Lauren Palmer says, “We saw that the oven is the heart of the kitchen and that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is no longer the room at the back of the house – it is the hub of social activity.” Kitchens are part of the home’s living space, so the design of the oven must match the family of cooking appliances and have a lasting durable design.

The Design Story Meet The Maker
Meet the maker 03:00
Meet Lauren Palmer, Chief Designer at Fisher & Paykel Appliances.
A detailed design story from the people that make it happen.


The Design Story One

The 60cm Built-in Oven has been developed with a mixture of customer insight and common sense. Our engineers, product testers and designers are all passionate about cooking and use Fisher & Paykel products every day. Their frustrations were the same as our customers’ which gave us a personal perspective on what we needed to improve and invent. This oven design didn’t come from a single, blinding insight, but many. Every part of this oven has been improved and pushes the boundaries of what an oven can deliver.

We knew the cavity needed to be larger so we created a 90L oven with 77L of useable cavity that provides optimum cooking performance with elements both top and bottom. We knew a heavy, hot oven door was a safety concern so we ensured we kept the cool-touch feature while redesigning the venting system so that only three panes of glass were required for a lighter oven door that people could safely open and close with one hand. We knew symbols don’t clearly explain each function so we’ve created an interface that clearly explains what each function does and we intentionally avoided touch screen style interfaces with complex programming. We knew customers wanted perfect results whether they were cooking pastry or rotisserie chicken so we’ve exhaustively tested each function to ensure consistent, ideal cooking. Knowing that people wanted an easy way to clean their ovens we’ve created asuperior pyrolytic cleaning function. Customers wanted a stylish centrepiecein their kitchen so we developed an award-winning design language and look that places this oven at the centre of the Fisher & Paykel kitchen family.


Here at Fisher & Paykel, our engineers, designers, technicians and product testers are cooks too. They are passionate about mixing, baking, roasting and entertaining. They know the disappointment when a cake sinks or when some biscuits burn while others are undercooked. We channeled these personal frustrations and hopes into the design of this oven, and exhaustive testing of every function with a wide variety of dishes has impressed even our toughest critics – our own designers.

The Design Story Two

We set ourselves a complex goal, to increase the internal capacity of the 60cm oven at the same time as perfect cooking performance.

Chief Engineer Cooking Group
Matt Reid
Fisher & Paykel Appliances

Our Kitchen food blog is where we’ve tested food from around the globe and shared some of our favourites. As Chief Engineer Matt Reid explains, “The oven is the heart of the kitchen. We know an oven is more than just an appliance to help you put dinner on the table; when we cook or bake for our families and friends, it’s not just about food. While technology has advanced, the hearth is as much the centre of the home as it ever was. The difference is that now you can feel confident that your pastry will crisp, souffles will rise and biscuits will evenly brown.”


Our idea to create an oven that exceeded expectations in size, performance, safety and design was exciting, but as Chief Engineer, Geoff Mitchell says, “Design isn’t really valid until it’s linked up with possibilities.” We needed to develop the technological innovations to make those possibilities happen. To do this we didn’t just try to tweak the oven we already had. We modified our entire product development process and went back to basics. While the end process of cooking is creative, at this early stage understanding the particulars of how hot air moves around an enclosed space or the insulation properties of different materials were essential to develop a revolutionary oven. Our engineers worked up from abstract physics and chemistry to create ideal prototypes for each oven element before we even started thinking about design. Without the constraints of an existing chassis or look, we have been able to make numerous small and large leaps in innovation to create this new model.

We found that the best performance was achieved through a combination of precise temperature and controlling the moisture content in the oven for different types of food. It is designing for extremes – at one end of the scale when you are baking moisture needs to be contained but when you are roasting you want to extract moisture at the right moment to get a crisp result – we call it active venting.


Geoff Mitchell
Chief Engineer Cooking Group
Fisher & Paykel Appliances

ActiveVent™ technology was one of these key innovations. Nearly all ovens build-up moist air and unless the oven is vented, the moisture can ruin certain types of food. Poor venting can lead to temperature fluctuation and even more chance of spoiling a favourite recipe. This challenge was made more complex by our the desire to make the oven as eco-efficient as possible – which meant keeping that hot air sealed inside and saving energy during heat up and use. Collaboration between our sustainability engineers, electrical engineers and food technologists resulted in a new venting system that could remove the moist air but retain the heat within the oven. Once we had perfected this technology, our food technologists and product testers saw the potential to further fine-tune this venting for individual cooking functions to give cooks more control. When set to Vent Bake, the venting system creates a hot and dry environment, perfect for foods like roasts and pavlovas, drying out the surface but retaining moisture inside.


Throughout the design and development of the 60cm Built-in Oven, our designers and engineers kept one key idea central: what is best for the customer? Because, as Mitchell says, “Any good design is the optimum mix of what a customer benefits from and what’s possible. You can’t have one without the other.” As well as improving the process of product development, the Fisher & Paykel team remained focused on the ethos of their design considerations as well. Throughout every stage of the product development process, customer requirements are the touch points for every design and innovation development, and success is judged on meeting – and exceeding – what a customer needs and wants.

Behind every product is a story and that story starts with you. Your kitchen is an expression of who you are and how you enjoy food with others. Our passion is creating better experiences that put the joy of food at the centre of your life.

We’ll take care of the details.