Patron Power, a Geelong-based manufacturer and installer of service units, knows boats.While boats in the 21st Century were being built bigger, better and demonstrating more flair than 10 years earlier, Patron Power was acutely aware that service units (which provide power and water to boats when moored) had not kept pace.
"We wanted to build something that would complement the sleek new designs of the yachts and boats being moored in marinas all over the world," said David Harris, Managing Director, Patron Power.
Eyeing a market opportunity Patron Power commissioned Outerspace Design to design a modern service unit that would function safely using peak electrical voltage, deliver mains pressure water, withstand the elements of an extreme marine environment, and importantly, have style and global appeal.
The design collaboration was facilitated through Design Victoriaís Business Immersions program. Outerspace Design considered a broad range of issues to positively influence the design including product positioning, differentiation, usability and the user experience, ergonomics, aesthetics, brand, manufacture and cost, the environment, global reach and communication.
It took the best part of two years before the final product ñ the M-Pod Series II ñ reached manufacture.
"The finished product is arguably the best designed and detailed of its type. The level of attention to detail is extremely high as Patron Power was uncompromising when it came to the quality and finish of the product," said Mark Johnson, Director, Outerspace Design.
The first order of M-Pod Series II was provided to one of Australia's most exclusive marinas, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, in November 2009, for installation in the extension of the marina.
"The response has been excellent. Though it is early days, we are confident that we will see an improvement in sales and an increase in market share both domestically and overseas once the product is more familiar to users," said Harris.
"Patron Power was initially reluctant to hire an external designer as their previous design work had been undertaken in-house,î said Gary Haywood, Manager, Design Ready, Design Victoria. ìThe successful outcome is a very real demonstration of how a long term, close-working relationship between designer and client can really pay off."