Putting the cup of tea on a pedestal

That Great British favourite, the Teasmade, may soon face a new 21st century rival that also makes coffee

There is something quintessentially British about the Teasmade. An alarm clock that makes a pot of tea as it wakes you up could only have been invented here. Introduced by Goblin in 1933 and still made today by Swan, the Teasmade perhaps most strongly evokes the 1950s, when it was considered the height of luxury.

Since then, it has somehow become a national icon for dull domesticity.

But Factory Design is about to change that. The design consultancy has updated the concept with a design that would look at home in any 21st century bedroom, and is capable of dispensing either real leaf tea or freshly ground coffee.

The new automatic teamaker stands on its own silver pedestal, from which the whole unit can be removed easily by squeezing the trigger on the handle.

By squeezing the trigger again the outer casing is lifted off leaving behind the internal carrier, which includes the tea, coffee, milk, water and sugar vessels. These can be put straight into a dishwasher once used, and separate brewing chambers ensure there is no cross-contamination of either tea or coffee.

The teamaker is still a concept design at this stage, but Gavin Thomson, creative director at Factory, says it has aroused the interest of a number of manufacturers. The concept model was designed for an exhibition of futuristic home ideas at the Ideal Home Exhibition. `We were trying to reinstate a lifestyle product that hasn’t been designed well in the past, and bring it up to date,’ says Thomson.

Factory used details from existing products on the market, as well as the advice of tea and coffee specialists, to ensure the idea is achievable and able to provide fresh tea and coffee.

The company anticipates there will be some moulding issues when the product comes to be mass-manufactured, as it has a very distinct, conical shape, but believes these issues will easily be overcome.

The base of the unit holds an optional projector clock, which shines the time on bedroom walls, and can react to the ambience of the room by brightening or dimming to match the light.

Thomson says the the company has tried to design the product to fit the house of the future, which could not be further away from that of the austere, post-war Britain of the 1950s.

The top-of-the-range model would have a silver pedestal and would probably cost around £100-£120.

Lower down the scale would be the basic basket form, which would cost around £40-£50, and include fewer features.

If the design is eventually sold to a manufacturer, Factory hopes to maintain its involvement in the project.

`We would always want to be involved, as very often we see examples of work move away from the original design concept. Little differences start to creep in and you can end up with a product that nobody is proud of,’ says Thomson.


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