A BA (Hons) Product Design graduate has impressed industry names with his innovative kettle and toaster concept. The designs were conceived around the idea of making the products more accessible to users with injury or restricted movement, and to be socially inclusive.
UCA Farnham graduate Cameron Suckling says: “I think it’s very important to incorporate inclusive design into the development process because products such as the kettle and toaster are a vital part of the kitchen. We all, no matter our age or size or ability, need to use everyday items such as kettles and toasters. It’s important to me that we think about the functions of an object and how we use them, and to look at ways that they can be enhanced and developed, to carry out their fundamental functions, rather than just repeating the same products and aesthetics that are already available to buy.
“My kettle is a social object that considers people who may struggle with lifting and pouring, for example the elderly. The vessel that holds the liquid is freestanding and designed to swivel on the spot, to release the water, allowing the interaction of pouring while keeping its position in the centre of the table. The toaster works by decreasing the interaction needed by the user to completely remove the action of lifting toast out of the toaster. The toast goes on a journey through the toaster and drops onto a plate rack underneath, which in one instance catches crumbs, but also is removable to provoke a social interaction with someone."
Cameron’s products were on display at this year’s New Designers in London, which showcases the work of 3,000 up-and-coming designers from fields including animation, illustration, product design and jewellery.
“We seem to be living in a time where design is becoming more user-centred,” Cameron adds. “People don’t necessarily interact in the way they used to with products, with instant hot water taps making things very quick and on-the-go. Having a tea or coffee has always been a social event to me, which is what I think really stands out about the kettle. It looks powerful as a centrepiece, with its clean lines and simple geometry, but then having it swivel and pour allows everybody equal access from wherever they are sitting around the table.
“I design quite aesthetically minimal products, where the form doesn't distract from the message of solving a bigger problem, such as addressing mobility issues or social functionality. It allows you to create products with more meaning. It was really rewarding to exhibit my work at New Designers and to have companies such as Wilko and Dualit approach me to talk about my work.”