How have you moved the design along?
Simr has a unique construction, using a distinctive mono-frame handle component, which allows for a twin-skin bowl assembly. This double wall thickness provides two main benefits.
Firstly, a heat exchanger is sandwiched between the layers, conducting the residual heat from the base efficiently up the pan sides. This gives even temperature distribution and creates an energy-efficient product. It also keeps the outside wall temperature low.
The twin wall also allows for a different profile on the inside and outside of the saucepan. The outside has a completely flat, right angled profile, i.e. no large radiuses at the corners as seen on conventional products. This gives maximum contact between the pan base and the heat source. On the inside we have designed a very generous radius allowing easy cleaning and stirring.
Other built-in features include an integrated display that provides live feedback on the temperature, weight and timing of the saucepan contents. Heat and temperature sensors also allow Simr to identify when the pan is about to boil over or boil dry, and actively warn the user. The digital screen is removable for dish washing.
We have integrated the use of a superhydropic coating to the inside of the pan. This uses emerging material technologies to provide a hyper-non-slip surface.
A unique tilting/straining lid, bespoke utensils, storage system, and contemporary aesthetics also make Simr a truly innovative product in this category.
What do you think your improvements are?
Improved heat efficiency, human factors, product safety, intelligent digital feedback and a new visual language. Essentially Simr has been designed to help improve cooking skills, reduce accidents, and make product care and maintenance easier, whilst providing a new design aesthetic resonant with modern living and advanced performance.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Culture. Combining consumer insight with desk research allows us to explore the cultural and physical limitations of current designs, as well as allowing us to understand the ways in which new cultural meanings can be utilised, blended and borrowed in order to create objects that resonate with consumers in the real world. But it is as important to look back at what has been, as it is to look at what is coming, as only this can help us interpret which trends will have traction in culture and which will simply be fads.
What other products – not necessarily related – influenced your redesign?
Camping stoves, 1950’s Scandinavian cookware, domestic interior design and contemporary consumer electronics.
What was the biggest challenge?
While consumers now expect products and devices to be "enabled" and expect continuous progression (such as the progress of the iPhones 3, 4 and 5) there is a parallel momentum towards the authentic and the manual (such as the resurgence of the interest in the processes and practices of baking). The saucepan has long been a relatively "dumb" object, simply a receptacle for contents rather than having any inherent power in its own right. As designers it can be tempting to laden devices with new technologies and materials, but with Simr we have been careful to include only technologies of true benefit; those that genuinely improve efficiencies and safety, and those that empower the user through information rather than automating and overly controlling or modifying the process. By keeping the meaning of the device the same, the product remains accessible to all, whether young or old.
How radically have you altered the saucepan?
The intension was to create a host of new innovative features and functions that allow the user to improve their mastery of cooking. The product aesthetics and product handling were kept intentionally familiar, whilst materials, construction, safety features and digital interface are all radically new in this category.