Innovative recuperator with novel use of textures that are the key feature of the design language.

heatpex aria vitale

/01/ Overview

/01/ Overview

Indoor ventilation with heat recovery and air filtration.

Heatpex, an established European manufacturer of Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) equipment, aims to accelerate the adoption of heat recovery devices (recuperators) by improving their design. Focusing on ease of installation and usability, they strive to enhance indoor air quality while preventing heat loss. Impressed by our work in the HVAC industry, Heatpex approached us for innovative industrial design and an intuitive user experience (UX). Through meetings and workshops, we identified pain points and areas for improvement. We created a range of design options emphasising ease of installation and use. The proposed design not only meets the main requirements but also saves costs by introducing an innovative design language that highlights, rather than hides, the main material under extra layers. We proceeded to engineer the mounting system, which is easily produced with just stock profiles of only 15mm of thickness.


  • Exploratory Workshop
  • Usability Analysis
  • Industrial Design
  • Product Graphics
  • Concept Engineering - mounting solution
  • Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DMFA)
  • Colour, Material, Finish (CMF)




/02/ Industrial design

Fully assembled and mounted heat recovery unit with inlet and outlet ducts. Front view.
Fully assembled and mounted heat recovery unit with inlet and outlet ducts.
Innovative front decorative panel that also serves as a white board for notes.
View of the clever solution of the filter covers with hidden market pen and allen keys.
Front view of the industrial design with diagonal groves that are key design language feature.
Innovative heat recovery unit with novel use of textures that are the key feature of the design language.
Figures 1-7.
The simple industrial design of ARIA VITALE heat recovery unis is counterbalanced with rich textures and thoughtful hidden features like washable note board, removable control panel, and easily accessible slots for changing filters that also act as a storage compartment for a marker pen and TORX wrenches.

The EPP (expanded polypropylene) material used in the construction of the MVHR unit is characterised by its low weight and high ductility. However, due to its polystyrene-like structure, it is often mistaken for a cheap and flimsy material. Many manufacturers choose to hide the material under additional layers of sheet metal or plastic, thereby increasing the weight of the unit, making it harder to recycle and less sustainable in general. Counter to a common practice we proposed to avoid using additional materials and, at the same time, rebalance the perception of EPP and the entire unit. In order to achieve this, we used two design strategies. To conceal the granular surface structure of the EPP, a texture was introduced to enhance the aesthetic appeal. Moreover, to add even more elegance and dynamism, additional grooves were introduced on the surface of the casing. This has practically reduced the external surface area by half, and large continuous sections with the same texture were eliminated.

Innovative use of textures not only saves resources and lowers costs but also simplifies assembly. the makeover of Expanded polypropylene (EPP) paves a new path in the established MVHR industry. The new design language makes the unit stand out in the market and POSITIONS our client at the FOREFRONT of a highly COMPETITIVE industry.

/03/ Product features

Figure 8.
Aria Vitale premiered at the the world’s leading trade fair for HVAC + Water industries in Frankfurt, Germany, 2023.
Figure ©Heatpex
Fully assembled device on the trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.
Video 1.
A product film showcasing the innovation and functionality of the ARIA VITALE which earned recognition from the international juries of the IF and Red Dot Awards competitions, securing the prestigious IF Design Award 2023 and Red Dot Award 2023.
Video ©Heatpex

/04/ Colour, Material, Finish (CMF)

CMF and graphic design for the front panel.
Figures 9-10.
In addition to crafting the industrial design, we played a pivotal role in developing the product graphics and defining the Colour, Material, and Finish (CMF).
Top view on prototypes of the front panel for the MVHR device.
Prototype of a innovative mounting solution designed by  the aleto design studio.
Figures 11-12.
A prototype featuring an innovative mounting solution crafted from a standard stock profile. The strategically spaced slots and holes are sized to facilitate a seamless installation process—positioning one mounting bolt at the back of the unit automatically aligns the remaining elements, streamlining the installation into a one-person job.
Figures ©Heatpex
Prototype of a innovative mounting solution designed by  the aleto design studio.
Figure 13.
Product information plate manufactured with different printing technologies.
Prototypes of product information plaque testing different colour material and finishes, CMF.
Figure 14.
Texture, finish and colour swatches,
CMF swatches on a designers desk during the design proces.
Figure 15.
Texture, finish, and colour swatches, in conjunction with the product interface, are designed to enhance readability and user experience.
Texture swatches of the Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and prototypes of the interface panels.
Close up showing three textures used on the Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) material.
Figure 16.
The final product incorporates three types of textures to enhance the look and feel of the Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) material, elevating the overall aesthetics of the product.
Figure ©Heatpex

/05/ Industrial design | Alternative concept

Design concept with innovative textures inspired by the Japanese Zen gardens on the front cover made from Expanded Polypropylene.
Fully assembled and mounted heat recovery unit with inlet and outlet ducts. Front panel with textures inspired by the Japanese Zen gardens.
Front view of the industrial design with Japanese Zen garden-style groves forming the key design language feature.
Figures 17-19.
Early additional conceptual explorations of the industrial design based on the Japanese dry zen gardens (枯山水, karesansui) adding the elements of flow and harmony.
Front view visualisation of a Heatpex Aria Vitale designed by the aleto design agency.

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