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Two cups of coffee and a choc ice - The bottle of the future | #BehindTheIdea

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In our weekly behind the idea features we're quite accustomed to quizzing creatives about their latest campaigns but very rarely do we get the chance to gain insight on the design of something tangible.

This week, we're speaking to, Greg Furniaux, Senior Designer at London design studio Blond about a unique water bottle designed to keep drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours, all while remaining condensation-free.

The bottle in question is built with double-walled, vacuum-insulated 18/8 stainless steel and a heat-reflecting copper layer and is completely leakproof. It also looks incredible. 

What was the brief?

We were asked by Joseph Joseph to design a water bottle for their new hydration range. We needed to find & solve an everyday problem, offer new benefits for the consumer, and give the product a distinctive yet simple aesthetic. Essentially, we were tasked with finding both the problem and the solution.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We use a variety of research methods for identifying pain points but in this case, our most successful was simply observing people using their bottles on the go. We spent a few days in central London, where we saw how thousands of people were naturally interacting with their bottles. Unlike direct methods of research such as interviewing, this method often helps us find problems that the user may not even be aware of themselves.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

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The design was inspired by two core observations. Firstly, drinking can often be a two-handed action; when people's bottles were open (for drinking and filling) they would have to awkwardly grip the lid in the other hand alongside various items they were also holding (e.g. phones, bags, books).

Secondly, we noticed that many people held their bottle by the cap, hanging between two fingers, despite this not offering much grip and thus leading to a few dropped bottles.

Our final design resolves the loose cap without the need for any extra components, hinges or complex mechanisms. The surfaces on the inside of the silicone loop are curved to match the shape of the bottle. This means it stores securely on the neck of the bottle when open, freeing up one of the user's hands. When closed, it also provides a convenient carry handle and bag attachment area.

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

Production was handled by the talented in-house team at Joseph Joseph. However we understand that some of the small details, like ensuring the lid and logo align every time the bottle is closed, required some back and forth. It's these details that make the bottle feel really high quality.

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

We don't spend time doing fancy sketches, not that we aren't able to, more that quick informative drawings ensure we get our ideas communicated quickly and naturally as they come to us. Projects normally start with a wall covered in scribbles on post-it notes.

We move into CAD to create quick digital form studies. Quite often you'll find ideas that look great on paper but aren't quite as successful in 3D. We have 3D printers in the studio that we use throughout development, too. Once forms have been selected  we will work these up in further detail within 3D CAD. 

Our team is also great at visualising, so we render out photorealistic images for presentation to the client or for marketing purposes. During the pandemic we started using digital tools like Miro but even since returning to the office we've found them super useful for research organisation and keeping track of projects. 

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

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We originally thought that the lid should attach to the bottle side via magnets, but we soon discovered that the grade of steel used in insulated bottles isn’t very magnetic, so the lid would slide down the bottle. We see going back to the drawing board as a positive as the end product is more refined, simple and elegant. 

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

Products designed to satisfy trends and current fashions often end up in landfill. To avoid this we made sure Loop’s form was driven by a problem-solving function, the result is iconic and timeless - avoiding aesthetic obsolescence.

This, combined with Joseph Joseph's high quality material choices and attention to detail during manufacture - means people keep the bottle for many years, preventing as many single use bottles as possible.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

The design process took four months from initial briefing to final design-CAD delivery. From there, Joseph Joseph entered the development and production phase. Unfortunately, the development began at the same time as the pandemic - as a result, it was a slower process and took almost two years. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

The product launched recently and has great reviews so we hope it goes on to become a long term successful design for the brand. 

Credit list for the work?

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James Melia (Blond)

Greg Furniaux (Blond)

Anna Mimran (Blond)

Steve Gates (Joseph Joseph)

Oliver Craig (Joseph Joseph)

Anthony Joseph (Joseph Joseph)

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