There is something both daunting and delightful about tackling a traditional object design that has already stood the test of time. On the one hand, most established designs of everyday objects are nearly impossible to improve. On the other hand, if you can indeed add something, it provides a whole new perspective on an object everyone thought was set in stone. The standard coffee mug design is a great example. What would you change that actually adds functionality and not just novelty?
Consider the Red Dot design award-winning Bevel Cup by Gao Fenglin & Zhou Buy of Nanoin Design, designed to stay cleaner in storage than mugs sitting right-side-up or upside-down. It also makes for easier drainage when letting them dry either on a shelf or a rack.
The designers say their process is “micro design,” using traditional Chinese philosophy to balance the relationships between humans, objects and the environments. If equilibrium is the goal, they’ve certainly achieved that here with this design.
More from the designers
“Usually if we put the cups upward after washing them, dirt will easily get into the cup. And we need to wash it again before drinking. But if we put cups downward, the edge will touch the table or something with bacteria. It is not healthy for drinking too. So we reformed the handle of the cup, and make it 40°angle downward standing on the table.”
“That allows it to stand at an angle, upside down, but resting only on the handle itself. This keeps dust out and germs off the rim. This storage position is also a good indicator that the cup is ready to be used rather than in need of a wash after a previous use.”
About Nanoin Design
“The word ‘NANOIN’ came from philosophical reflection of micro design. The Chinese word ‘Wei’–with the same meaning of micro appeared earliest in Oracle with the meaning of ‘old people walking slowly with crutch’. That was used to describe elder’s weak image. Modern Chinese explains this word including 3 key meanings: small size, softly and vague. Micro design, using traditional Chinese philosophy to balance the relationship of human, objects and environment. Human changes objects carefully in order to make everything develops correctly and naturally. The extent of that people feel the object depends on people’s mind.”
“Miscellaneous objects constitute the environment and the integral effect influences the sense of human. So we put both object and human to the whole environment to discuss their future for the purpose of getting the best equilibrium point. Treating object gently and changing object carefully is a way to mitigate burden on the environment. Also is what NANOIN always want to say. We hope these small efforts could be eventually aggregated to be a great change of our living home.”