Architect as… Product Designer

In the previous post I referred to the ‘Architect as prototype designer’; and it got me thinking to the many things I had done in my career, some of which I’m proud of and some of which I’m not.

Well, whilst freelancing for a design company in North London (Hi Keith), I was asked to switch roles from architect to product designer in order to produce the machine drawings for a small plastic cafetiere.

“I’m not a product designer” say I.

“Just think of it as a very small building made of plastic” says boss

So, ahead I go and produce the drawings and amazingly the prototype was made and then it goes into mass production (end product below):

'As built' cafetiere

The cafetiere in question…

Skip forward a few months and I’m in a Little Chef restaurant and what did I see as I ordered my coffee, yup MY CAFETIERE!. Apparently the cafetiere was implemented in every Little Chef in the UK as well as a whole host of other restaurants and coffee shops. Now if I’d only got a few pence per cafetiere… I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how much I got paid for the drawings.

Would I do it again? Probably not as I’m happy with ‘buildings’ a bit bigger but as they say “Never say never”

2 thoughts on “Architect as… Product Designer

  1. good story mark – you still gotta be proud when you see it.
    on a similar note i know an architect asked to do an esb substation quite some years ago…as you know it has a lot of specific requirements in itself but actually it can be externally finished in most anyway you want – although it never is…he gave it a few small brick detail flourishes to set it apart though and low and behold he later saw it in the flesh….drove past it but knew straight away it his one built to his drawings…what i forget to mention is that he never knew where the site for it was to be (say nothing to that part)…but you yourself might see it at the side of a certian very busy major road from the west just coming into dublin….naturally he was kicking himself he didn’t go for something more that showcased his skills…he probably still does every time he passes it.
    similar to you he was of course just being paid peanuts for his few drawings and it was just that the architect in him couldn’t help wanting to put his own little stamp on it…he should have gone for broke for something really eye-catching though as it turned out
    ps your coffee pot is very nice too

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