Since the end of 2000, we have been the design partner of Cayago and its respective predecessors. Subsequently, we have been able to accompany this fascinating niche product right from its start-up phase. It is not just that we had been
able to take part in the definition of a new kind of product, but we have also become more intensively engaged in the technical and economic process of development, more so than usually possible.
The Delfjet was born out of a garage.
Stuttgart citizen Jürgen Grimmeisen had experimented in his spare time with battery powered jet stream propulsion. He put together a teal green epoxy resin body around it and created the first functional prototype. The torpedo with grab handles; for which you could be dragged through the water with, worked well and made for a lot of fun. Like a ride on a dolphin you glide on and under water. Just by moving your body you can change direction, making you really feel like a fish in the sea. Together with some partners a business was created venture from this invention.
We were then instructed to give a visual identity to this vessel. The electric “dolphin” worked as an explanatory picture to describe the first idea of the product. Therefore it started with the client wanting the product to look like a dolphin. We were then able to convince our costumer that a naive look would withdraw an emotional connection and lessen the value of the product. After all, we wanted to convince the “big boys” of this high-tech toy and gain a considerable price.
Therefore our designs were orientated towards other smaller vehicles like scooters and jetskis – besides the required hydro-dynamic, ergonomic and technical challenges.
During the first half of 2001 we developed the first Delfjet in collaboration with the inventor and with potential suppliers of the body shell. A small series with hand laminated bodies were manufactured and henceforth used for product presentations, photo and video shoots as well as intensive tests.
In addition to developing the product, we designed the logo, product graphics and supported the young company with advertising material.
Some difficulties occurred that slowed the transfer of the prototype into a series model. Both powertrain (including batteries and body shell) proved not to be ready for series production in sea water and under the existing water pressure. So, some iteration loops were necessary – combined with the search for competent partners for production – to receive a dense and sea-water resistant product. At the same time the body was optimised in terms of gliding and diving manners by reducing weight, size and upwelling.
With the “Delfjet Professional” (2003) and the “Delfjet Sport” (2004) two sister products were formed which were meant for different production methods. The later was honoured with “Good Design Award 2004”.
After one of the investors had taken over the business due to an economical crisis within the company, the name of the product was changed to “Seabob”. On the international – mostly English dominated – market “Delfjet” has not been associated with “dolphin” and therefore was not helpful to explain the product.
Further technical optimizations lead to another evolution of the product which also offered the possibility of a redesign. The facelift let the diving scooter to look even more dynamic and elegant which also enhances the longevity of the product. Meanwhile the Seabob is on the market since 2005 and has reaped several design awards, including the “red dot” and a nomination for the “Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany”.
After the successful launch of the Seabob and the start of series production, the work on its “bigger brother” began. Compared to its smaller brother the “Magnum” is equipped with far higher capacity. As a result it can drive as well faster as further with one charging cycle. Further more, it has been equipped with navigation technology and headlights for professional diving trips. But also the Magnum is a luxury boy’s toy that is (placed on the market) merchandised with the fivefold price of a Seabob. Accordingly, we designed a complex, tension-filled and emotionally charged sculpture that amplifies the must-have effect even more. That we succeeded is underlined by several awards we gained for the design.
In 2013 the launch of the new Seabob is coming up. On the international fair “boot” in 2012 a design concept of the new was already displayed. The technical concept was built up from scratch compared to the actual model. This implicated a significant change of the component layout, which again had impact on the geometry and outer look. So it was necessary to find an appropriate design that encourages the product in all its functional and ergonomic aspects. It shall be visible that it is the youngest – the freshest – product, nevertheless its relationship to its predecessor should be recognisable.