Katerra Product Design

Katerra products are designed in Seattle by an in-house design team to serve their functional purpose as simply as possible.  classic geometric forms, clean lines, and minimal ornamentation. “Less design, but better.”
Katerra - Architecture & Construction


Industrial Design, Strategy, Product Development

Ceiling Fan


Product Optimization 

Low cost Less in cost than existing catalogue offering. Good

Design Clean and simple design that meets Katerra’s and Kova’s aesthetic goals.

Wiring Allow fan to have speed and light control switches.

Installation Optimization

CLT installation Ability to install to both typical gypsum ceilings and CLT with the same parts.

Minimize installation steps.

Quick ConnectInclude assembly methods to reduce the use of mechanical hardware and accelerate install time.

Research and Evaluation

After seaking out a documneting competitor product technical specifications, we evaluated how we would like to improve a fan beyond our current catalog fan.

What We Learned 

To achieve the desired CFM for a 5 blade fan, the wattage would need to be more than our current catalog selection. 


We ordered sample fans from potential factories in China. I disasembled four fans to evaluate each exterior and interior part to re-engineer and figure out more effecient ways of assembling the parts. it was important to minimize the number of installation and assembly steps for the new fan design.

What We Learned

Most fans require disseably before you’re able to attach the fan blades with screws. We wanted to create a method that reduced the amount of installation steps by creating a quick connect system for the fan blades.

Design & Development

  • Using CAD to play with the variable forms of the lighting diffuser, blades, and body of the fan I adjusted the sizing and forms of the parts to discover many iterations of what the fan could look like. After eliminating failed options and reiterating on successful versions, the team decided on two options to move forward.
  • I produced a full scale model test the feasibility of the finalized design. 
  • We decided on three fan body finishes that would each have a different finish on each side of the fat blades. 

Design Matrix


Full Scale ‘looks-like’ Prototype

Product Renderings 

Bath Accessories Research

Product Optimization

High perceived value ( add high end feature.)

Low cost.

Alignment with other product categories.

Installation Optimization

Set screws as an attachment method can be time consuming, so there’s a need for a quick connect solution.
Issues with the wall anchors that attach to the drywall can loosen over time.

Some bath accessories have poor construction which makes them become loose over time. 

Competitor Product Audit

  • Ikea’s bath accessory pricing is Katerra’s closet Competitor.
  • There’s seemingly infinite styles of cabinet hardware at a low cost.
  • Not many options for style matching grab bars.


Contemporary style is based off of:
  • Sleek lines.
  • Simple Geometry.
  • Fluidity between forms.
  • Textured surfaces.  

Design Ethos Predictions
  • Design that reflects the pursuit of well being.
  • Design that promotes positive experiences
  • Design that is sustainable and has a long term impact.

Ideation Conculsion

Desire for...
  • Shelving above accessories
  • Cantilevered accessories
  • Double TP Rod
  • Multi-Rod towel bar.
  • Shelving Accessory

Modular Parts System

Like the Katerra Kova Select plumbing fixture line, a system of modular parts would be more cost effective than manufacturing each individual prduct.

  • Forms don’t always translate to ADA grab bars or cabinet pulls.
  • Square accessories aren’t cohesive with Kova Select Brand.
  • Kova Select plumbing fixture line doesn’t translate well to accessories


Product Optimization

PIR motion, temperature, humidity, light, UV

Low cost

Less in cost than existing catalogue offering.

Good Design Design to comply with KOVA design standards. The KOVA and KOVA SELECT brands strive for simplistic, high finish, low cost products to reduce polarization and increase adoption

Installation Optimization

Dual Install Motion sensing needs to have the ability to me mounted on either the ceiling or wall, requiring a large FOV. 

Gypsum & CLT Primarily intended for gypsum ceilings, this product may be mounted to a secured junction box. Allowance for surface mounting on CLT ceilings or with plywood backed gypsum.

Competitor Product Audit

  • Dual install Only available on one of these products

Gypsum & CLT install concept

Custom J-box is integrated with sensor.

Moutning bracket attached direclty to ceiling. 

Standard J-box used to concel components behind ceiling to allow for a low profile design. 

To achieve an installation for both a gypsum and CLT installation. Katerra may need to develop a custom and UL approved J-box to house the device. (Orange represents where bracket is attached to celing or wall.)

Aesthetic and Functional Features

  • CFM is smooth white plastic to relate to standard ceiling or wall color. 
  • Circular form that’s not out of the oridnary which might relate to a smoke alarm.
  • Sleek and low profile with minumum seams. 

The form should not appear as a surveillance camera.   


While working with Katerra’s internal engineers and manufacturing in china, I developed a design that used a standard PIR sensor and PCB to dictate the overall size of the device.

Adjustments with Manufacturing

  • Maintaining a minimal height and width. A PIR lens that is flat as possible.
  • After a few iterations, we decided to use CRM124 rather than AA baterries because of the needed voltage needed to power all of the sensors. 
  • A few iterations of the design were 3D printed to better determine the design details. 

Industrial design, CAD modeling, Concept ideation, Color, material, and finish, Market research.