“Fancy a cup of tea?”
“Oh, yes please! Thank you!”
“OK, I’ll put the kettle on”
Boiling water for tea is a process as old as, well…… the drinking of hot tea.
And a process that has remained largely unchanged since.
When change has come it has invariably been influenced by technology: kettles over open fires, kettles on stoves, electric kettles.
But always involving a kettle.
(Accepting that is that the samovar is a “kettle”…….and even if you don’t, the samovar has undergone a similar progression from organic fuel to electric)
But why the reliance on the kettle? Are there not alternatives?
For her graduation project at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin Marta Suslow investigated a possible alternative, a teapot in which one boils the water directly.
Featuring a cast iron body with wooden handle and lid Marta’s TeapotKettle, as we alone are calling it, harnesses the power of induction to bring the water to the boil, once the water has boiled a teabag can be placed inside the TeapotKettle and the object taken to your living room/garden/bedroom/wherever you want to enjoy your tea.
It’s that simple.
If we’ve read the information correctly there could/should be a version with an LED display that tells you how warm the water is.
We say reject that concession to tea fetishists, yes white tea may greatly appreciate a water temperature of exactly 83.8 degrees Celsius. Guess. Boil the water, let it cool for a couple of minutes, it’ll be fine. In addition, by remaining with the cast iron body and wooden lid you keep the design as low tech and simple as possible which creates a nice harmony with and tribute to the traditional Japanese Tetsubin, a delightful piece of functional utilitarian craftsmanship. And not an object we’ve ever come across with an LED display.
What we would however appeal for is a removable/retractable cage under the lid and into which one could place loose tea or fresh herbs.
Although on the one hand about updating the process by which tea is made, utilizing contemporary technology to make a traditional process more efficient, H20 – Tea by induction by Marta Suslow is also about creating a unity of culture between domestic space and kitchen and about improving the aesthetics of everyday objects to make our lives more pleasurable.
A combination of factors which makes us wonder why Wilhelm Wagenfeld never came up with such an idea.
Obviously not everyone is going to like Marta Suslow’s project, potters for example will fear the death of the valuable teapot trade; however, for our part we find the idea not only charming and intriguing but a very nice piece of design research.
Should anything come of it, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Full details can be found at www.marta-suslow.com