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Some time ago, I got a message from a fellow via my Instagram Account, asking me if I’d be interested in taking a look at a project he’d been working on since July, 2018, and was about to see to fruition. That fellow is Ben Durack, from Scotland, and his project is a porcelain, handle less drinking cup designed for espresso based drinks like Americanos and Cappuccinos.
Durack’s background is very intriguing. His background is in product design consultancy and running a digital fabrication studio, and he also teaches a Three Dimensional Design course in Aberdeen, covering product design, jewelry and ceramics. He’s also widely fascinated with the tactile feel of everyday objects, and how they can live outside normal expectations. And he loves coffee, perhaps just as much as he loves design.
I asked Durack about where the inspiration behind the cup designs came from. “This design was born out of my love affair with Japanese design and my work surroundings, which happens to be a modernist building made from steel I-beams and glass.” Durack said. “.The form is very much inspired by traditional Japanese yunomi tea cups: an everyday cup that features a handleless design. The ribs were originally inspired by the I-beams that surround me at work but quickly reminded me of heatsinks. I began to experiment with how far the ribs could be pushed with the slip casting process, including wall thickness, depth of indentation, number, cross sectional profile, types of clay, firing cycle, and glaze application. My background in additive manufacturing and tooling design for mass produced products allowed me to come at the design of a porcelain cup a little differently to those more traditionally trained as I was able to create forms others aren’t able to and iterate with this quickly to test variations; of which I have probably experimented with hundreds over the years.”
That was a mouthful, so I asked him to give me the short version. “My cups are designed to celebrate craft, pushing the limits of production processes through elegant, refined design.” Durack said.
He went on to say, “Design (in general) over the last 10-15 years has been driven by reducing friction: giving consumers less time to think so that organisations can encourage decision making in their favour. I find myself more and more interested in adding friction (to design), to slow us down and to give our minds time to take stock and appreciate the elements around us.”
Durack’s new line of cups is part of that design ethos to enjoy the ritual of drinking coffee more in a different way.