Arteasts

  • 'Arteasts' logo for our team's tea strainer re-design.
    'Arteasts' logo for our team's tea strainer re-design.
  • Gaining inspiration for our strainer re-design through the ritual of brewing and drinking traditional Indian chai.
    Gaining inspiration for our strainer re-design through the ritual of brewing and drinking traditional Indian chai.
  • Concept sketch for the re-designed strainer - the "Lip Strainer" would fix to the lip of any container or pot and wrap around the side for easy straining.
    Concept sketch for the re-designed strainer - the "Lip Strainer" would fix to the lip of any container or pot and wrap around the side for easy straining.
  • Low fidelity prototype (cardboard and woven yarn), capturing the boat shape re-design of the strainer.
    Low fidelity prototype (cardboard and woven yarn), capturing the boat shape re-design of the strainer.
  • Weave prototype made from a natural material (bamboo reed) and capturing the strength, as well as, the flexibility of the re-designed strainer.
    Weave prototype made from a natural material (bamboo reed) and capturing the strength, as well as, the flexibility of the re-designed strainer.
  • Initial Rhino modeling of tea strainer prototype for 3D printing.
    Initial Rhino modeling of tea strainer prototype for 3D printing.
  • reating a rendering of the prototype and printing it out using a 3d Printer allowed us to really perfect the shape and look of the final design – a simple and elegant product that would act as a natural extension of the human hand when you are using it.
    3D Printed prototype made in the Objet printer, demonstrating the simple and elegant re-design of the strainer.
  • Silicone prototype made from liquid silicone and clay mold, capturing the malleability and heat resistance for the final design.
    Silicone prototype made from liquid silicone and clay mold, capturing the malleability and heat resistance for the final design.

 

In our Prototyping and Visualization class, we were challenged with the re-purposing of an industrial low-tech appliance. We chose to investigate and recreate an alternative design for the ‘Tea Strainer’.

Inspiration

The inspiration for our idea came from a team member’s personal connection to tea. This emotional tie led us to use the tea strainer as our low-tech appliance. We began our process by using the tea strainer in making a traditional Indian chai (which we later enjoyed drinking as well!). Doing this helped us better understand the tea strainer as we immersed into the research phase.

Brainstorm & Ideate

Our research dove into several different areas – historical context, various uses, and material types, shapes and styles. We also looked at some of the potential fields of interest. Below are a few examples of some of the insights gained from the initial research:

  • Theories of the origin of tea are often religious or royal in nature. Tea strainers therefore allow us to interact with the divine, and yet, separate from it as well.
  • Allows some things to pass through, but also keeps out others — acts as a barrier and a gatekeeper.
  • The strainer is preparing something for its final use and consumption.
  • What is the value difference between what goes through the strainer and passes on, and what is left behind? What is left behind is called ‘dregs’ or ‘residue,’ thought of as waste, but it is what allows for what goes on to become special, unique, desirable.
  • One strainer only good for one size of cup, dish or container, and only one type of use

Play & Experiment

We continued experimenting with the strainer by playing with materials, uses, and elaborating on our ideas and the areas that we were interested in. We looked at new ways in which the strainer might be employed in the kitchen, but also thought about it completely outside the box, revolutionizing the concept of the tea strainer.

Evaluate & Observe

With so many different concepts, some much more conceptual than others, we narrowed down to a single concept — one that would allow the strainer to become adaptive, attach to different sizes and types of pots or containers, and also have multiple uses. This design allowed us to still investigate further into the different types of materials that would be best suited for the construction of the final prototype.

Iterate & Improve

After rounds of iteration, our design organically transitioned into a boat-shape, allowing the strainer to adhere to different container sizes and types. It could be used in the typical convention – one that separates liquid from a solid – letting you pour away the liquid from the solid. Another use was that of an “infuser”, where the strainer (boat) could sit in a simmering liquid, allowing spices of some sort to infuse their flavors into the liquid, without dispersing and separating away.

Presentation & Perfection

Instead of constructing just one prototype, we decided to prototype our design for the strainer in a handful of ways so that we could showcase different materials, shapes, and styles from each of these prototypes.

Weave Prototype: Creating a woven prototype allowed us to test the strength as well as flexibility of the frame, by using natural materials, such as bamboo (reed) and wire.

Silicone Prototype: Experimenting with liquid silicone to create a boat shaped prototype allowed us to test having a version that could be completely malleable and attach onto any shape container or pot. It would also be resistant to heat when using it with hot liquids.

3d Printed Prototype: Creating a rendering of the prototype and printing it using a 3d Printer allowed us to perfect the shape and look of the final design – a simple and elegant product that would act as a natural extension of the human hand when you are using it.

 

Click below to view the full recount of our process and design:

Creative Process Journal 

 

MBA / MA in Design Leadership
Visualization & Prototyping
Credit: Julie Buisson, Akhil Chugh, Sylvia Vadakara, Zhujuan Zeng
Date: October – December 2013

 

• July 6, 2014

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