This is a rhetorical question, but how many design projects conceived in a student bedroom can have made it into Nieman Marcus or The Conran Shop?
In 2014, Josh Renouf was in his final year of product design at Nottingham Trent University: one of his projects was to plan a product that would be aesthetically pleasing and fill a niche in the market. Young Renouf was intrigued by the resurgence of retro kit, such as record decks, and must be one of the few millennials with knowledge of the teasmade. You usually need to be at least 40 to be familiar with the idea of a combined alarm clock and tea maker.
Researching his retro-tech project, Renouf found that Swan was the only brand still selling traditional teasmades, so he set out to create a radically different machine for the 21st century, primarily to make coffee (though it also works with loose-leaf tea). Result: the Barisieur, for which the university awarded him best product award. News of the Barisieur spread and Renouf started receiving over 100 emails a day from people wanting to know when they could buy one. Fox News in the US picked up on it and he was all set for a golden future – except that the machine existed in plan only. But with $800,000 raised from crowdfunding, Renouf brought the slightly Professor Branestawm-ish but fabulous Barisieur to life. It’s an inspired piece of design, with abilities your grandmother’s teasmade did not have. The water is heated by induction and makes one cup of either filter coffee or tea. The milk is kept in what may be the world’s smallest fridge, the technology being a Peltier cooler – an unusual thermocouple that cools rather than heats. The clock digits dim when the bedroom lights go down. And there’s a USB charger port for your phone.
This is worldbeating bonkers British tech and I love it.