Culture Design & Decor Behind The Design

| Saturday, 22 March 2008 05:58

designRecognize these curves?

Welcome to our new feature that brings you behind the designs of some of the products we use on the Bitchin’ Kitchen set. This week we’re taking a closer look at that sexy hunk of a machine featured in our Coffee Wars Episode.

No, not Hans. We’re talking about the Saeco Talea Touch. This one-touch cappuccino maker has a design pedigree that even Hans would be proud of.

The designers behind this next-gen home barrista are none other than BMW Group DesignworksUSA. And they sure know how to make a machine handle.

Saeco International Group approached BMW Group DesignworksUSA to help them design a new range of automatic household coffee machines. Their challenge was to respond to the growing popularity and sophistication of coffee consumption and create “a true, lifestyle product and icon in the kitchen”. So I guess it wasn’t just about giving these new machines those signature BMW lines.

Says the design team: “We focused on the design statement expressing the ritual of coffee preparation and Saeco’s passion for coffee. The flow of coffee began with the exposed coffee compartment; wrapped by a high quality blanket; and finalized with the jewel like Saeco brewing system button. The design development created a new product perception with refined dynamic surfaces and contrasting colors.”

For those of you not familiar with the world of industrial design, suffice it to say that these people take what they do very seriously. But we think you’d be as impressed as we were with the amount of systematic effort, focused intelligence and creativity required to bring something new to a familiar household product. Obsessive compulsiveness at its best!

To get more insight, we even went to the IDSA Connecting Congress – a yearly monster schmooze-fest where designers meet to talk design – and were blown away by the high-level thinking that gets these people up in the morning. They really are trying to change the world one product / project at a time. So watch out! …but enjoy the fruits of their labor in the meantime.

Which is exactly what we did when we got our hands on the Saeco Talea Touch. Did it change our lives? Well, maybe not as much as Hans preparing our coffee in the morning, but the answer is a surprising YES! Case in point: we recently went to Los Angeles for 3 weeks and we seriously contemplated bringing the machine with us. This thing makes you crave coffee it’s so good, but it’s not just the taste. It’ll change the way you feel about making a coffee. By automating the espresso-making process (and simplifying clean-up), having a coffee becomes an occasion rather than an undertaking… the way it’s supposed to be.

To be annoyingly apropos: its kinda like the way that a good car can remind you that driving isn’t just about getting from point A to B. Touche.

So a big caffeinated “Cheers” to the design team at BMW Group DesignworksUSA. Coffee will always be at the heart of any day on the Bitchin’ Kitchen set – that’s why we dedicated an episode to it – and we’re glad there’re people out there dedicated to making it an occasion worth talking about.

P.S. Here’s some more design geek speak, just for the fun of it: “The improved location and coding of the compartments provided a good handling experience. The touch display merged the analog idea of the one touch immediate result with the advantage to customize a broad range of coffee specialties in a low hierarchy structure. Notable features include: one touch cappuccino maker, user friendly interface, one touch lift system, ceramic coffee grinder, a separate hot water tube, and a coffee intensity button.”

***Big thanks to the IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America) for getting us happily hooked!


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