Peter Warrington is a 21-year-old BA Product and Furniture Design graduate from Birmingham City University. His final project is a modular electric kettle.
Design Week: Can you explain your project and motivation for doing it?
Peter Warrington: Throw away culture and e-waste are prevalent problems that require immediate attention. Kettles are one of the most discarded pieces of domestic technology and are disposed as frequently as every four to five years due to common issues. The aim of my final project is to improve the repairability of a domestic electric kettle to improve user-repair and combat issues that lead to premature disposal.
The main motivation for this area of design was addressing the environmental impact of a product that everyone has. Sustainability is a key principle within my work and repair is a great facilitator for this.
The design process began by taking a reductionist approach, rethinking the kettle from spout to base. Repairability is at the core of the project with the heating element – a common point of failure – being entirely user replaceable. The incorporation of a removable water tank enables better maintenance and cleaning. These modular components combined aim to significantly increase the working lifespan of the kettle.
DW: What was most challenging about the design process?
PW: The most challenging aspect of the design process was ensuring that the kettle was feasible to produce. The disassembly of many existing kettles was key as these precedents ensured the kettle componentry was accurate and compelling. New technologies were not required, as they already existed but required a new approach and different implementation to form the solution. Further to this, it was important that the kettle appeared new yet familiar and remained appealing to a wide audience.
DW: Where do you see your design career heading?
PW: My portfolio is diverse and includes a range of furniture and products such as kitchen items and lighting. I see myself continuing to expand my portfolio with highly functional products that impact wide numbers of people. The step into industry is something that particularly excites me, and I am looking forward to making my impression on the design sector.
Check out other graduate projects from this year’s cohorts here.