The goal of this project was to create a cohesive cup, saucer, and spoon for any user of our choosing. The only criteria was for the set to work as a family and be functional.
CONTEMPORARY – RESPECTFUL – MINIMAL
The design of this set focused on 3 main adjectives: contemporary, respectful, and minimal. I wanted to pay respect to traditional East Asian tea ceremonies but with a modern twist. I also wanted the cup, saucer, and spoon to work together to minimize the space they take up in the user’s kitchen.
“If it’s too hot to hold it, it’s too hot to drink it”
This quote was the guiding force of my design. Most Western cups for hot drinks have a handle to protect your hands, but Asian cups do not because of this belief. I wanted to respect the importance of tea for ceremonies and hospitality.
My target market are customers of specialty tea shops who enjoy tea and appreciate Asian tea culture, but do not want to go about tea drinking in the traditional and complicated method with expensive and ancient china. This tea set will embody the culture they admire but be durable and afforable enough for daily use.
PINCH + STACK
Pinch was based on the fact that there are always at least two main points of contact when holding a cup regardless of using one or two hands. The indents on the cup were inspired by the traditional method of holding a Japanese tea cup.
Inspired by the Asian pagoda, the set would stack together, not individually like normal cups, saucers, and spoons. This is easier for a user who wants to get all the necessary utensils for their cup of tea without going all over the kitchen. The set is ideal for small spaces because of the minimal footprint and negative space.
Clay and cardboard models were made to analyze size and ergonomics.
A 3D model was created and printed for more accurate testing of ergonomics and to test stacking and volume.
GRAPHIC AND MATERIAL STUDIES
Several options were examined for the final materials and graphics of the set. I decided to follow the minimalistic idea and have the set in all one material and highlight the material with a simple color like white. Some material options: Ceramic, Bamboo, Cast Iron, Stainless Steel, Leather, and Glass
Zisha 紫砂(Purple Sand) refers to crude clay rock that is produced in Yixing, China. It is a mixture of red clay, purple clay and green clay. The mineral composition and porous nature enhances the flavor of the tea and creates a softer, smoother, mellower taste. It can be formed coil forming, slab forming, or most commonly slip casting. It has a very high iron content produces different colors depending on the level of oxygen in the kiln.
The iron in Zisha clay is activated when fired, which reacts with water molecules to enhance the flavor of the drink. It is easy clean, just rinse with hot water and let dry, ideal for my target user. It is still porous after fired, so flavors will be absorbed over time and even further enhance the flavor of future drinks. Cups made of Zisha clay can be used for coffee or wine in addition to tea.
SLIP CASTING + GLAZING + FIRING
The manufactured product will be slip casted in Zisha clay. The main body will be underglazed in Coyote Hi-fire Underglaze UG017 White and glazed in Laguna Glaze Cone 10 Jon’s Clear WC558 for a glossy white finish on all but the inside and edges. An underglaze is applied when dry or after first fire. Underglaze and glaze is used in famous Japanese and chinese blue and white porcelain. The glaze is clear to allow underglaze to be seen. Finally, it will be fired at 1200˚C with high amount of oxygen, causing the clay to have a or ange appearance.
The cup will hold 4 fluid ounces of drinkable liquid. The spoon slides into the saucer when not in use and each saucer can stack on top of another cup.