Young designer Ricardo Carneiro has recently presented his Exploded Rituals project as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show. In his thesis project, Carneiro has deconstructed a coffee machine, rebuilding it according to an open framework, and allowing the user to follow the transition from coffee bean to a hot cup of coffee. The result is both fascinating and poetic, combining a low-tech aesthetic with a fundamentally philosophical approach.
Carneiro departed from his assertion that "the coffee machine has become more and more simple to use. You need only press a button to turn on the object and get what you need. Losing manipulation means that we begin to value the shape while neglecting to understand the systems that are the basis for these machines."
"Losing physical interaction with the object means that the ritual of the coffee is merely a matter of several minutes: the user changes the filter, adds the coffee and water, and presses the on button," the designer continues. "But how does it work? Even if the system is not complicated, as long as it remains hidden inside of a plastic shell, people cannot understand the mechanism."
Upon deconstructing and reassembling a coffee machine, Carneiro decided to leave space between the various elements in his newly created open framework, using an external structure that supports all the parts.
The resulting object is both striking and large, combining a roaster, grinder, steam engine, different containers for the coffee, water and sugar, a delivery system for the cups, a gas bottle and many gas burners. Carneiro remarks how the "arrangement has a strong effect on the ritual of using the machine," and he hopes the whole coffe-making process can become "a playful experience for the user."
"By exaggerating the physical movements involved in the process, the object acquires a bigger presence and the mechanical actions gain clarity from the user's perspective," the designer remarks. The final object shows the full process from the coffee bean to the final cup of coffee. "Taking care of the coffee process means being closer to the object and also to the final result," says Carneiro.
Exploded Rituals was shown at the Design Academy Eindhoven 2012 graduation show, as part of the recent Dutch Design Week.