By James Wells
MELBOURNE: Sunbeam has been awarded a prestigious Australian Design Award for the KE9300 Ceramic Series Kettle, which is yet to be released on to the market.
The first mass-produced kettle of its kind, the KE9300 was developed using a design brief which sought to “combine the traditional feel of a ceramic vessel with modern kettle technology” and includes an integrated 2,400-watt polished stainless steel underfloor heating element.
According to Sunbeam design director, Brian Johns, the award recognizes a retro-approach to appliance design.
“The ceramic kettle represents a traditional style of production – it is what mum used to have. By using natural, heritage materials on both the product and packaging, we are emphasising a sustainable and recyclable approach to design," Johns said.
“Ceramics can break down and go back into the earth with minimal environmental impact and we are also using a protective and reusable cloth bag in the kettle’s packaging, instead of the generic HDPE bags found on most consumer goods. People are tired of throwing things away. Perhaps what’s old is new again.”
According to Sunbeam marketing manager – kitchen appliances, Damian Court, the introduction of a ceramic kettle could represent a new trend in the category.
“Stainless has been around for a while and it is good to see something new. We have a responsibility to explore other materials, particularly insert materials that do not capture taste or smell.”
According to Sunbeam’s submission to the Australian Design Awards, the product took two years to develop and is positioned at the high-end of the consumer market, traditionally dominated by stainless steel vessels. The ceramic material offers a more subtle, tactile experience and significantly quieter boiling.
“From the first working prototypes, made with local Sydney ceramicist David Edmonds, to the final product, mass-produced in China, our vision was to re-create the ceramic jug kettle for the modern day kitchen,” the submission said.
“With stainless steel dominating the high-end kettle category for a decade, Sunbeam saw an opportunity to introduce a material and finish that alluded to the old ‘Speedie’ or ‘Hecla’ kettles, while building upon a softer, more contemporary, kitchen design language, pioneered by contemporary brands such as Nigella Lawson.
“Several factors have prevented the modern day development of an underfloor Ceramic Kettle. Traditional manufacturing techniques require extremely high tolerances to join the outer vessel to the heater plate, while maintaining water tight seals, during multiple boils and quenches.
“Sunbeam’s investment in the Ceramic Series reinforces the importance of environmental sustainability and natural materials in the consumer appliance market. The designs intentionally minimize plastic use in the product and packaging, even using a protective cloth bag instead of the generic HDPE bags found on most consumer goods.”