Coffee lovers and their friends often joke about how the world actually lives around coffee, but there’s no denying how much of the beverage is produced and consumed on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is a type of human fuel that has its own negative environmental impact, albeit indirectly. Tons of used coffee grounds are thrown away and wasted, cups increase either plastic waste or paper usage, and coffee machines break and are indiscriminately disposed of. While there are already attempts to address the first two problems, there are few solutions when it comes to the sustainability of coffee machines. As with any other device, not much thought is given to the life cycle, making the design of this modular coffee maker quite revolutionary and at the same time aesthetically interesting.
Designer: Thomas Mair
Devices are made for human comfort, not only during their use, but also after they are no longer usable. While repairing broken devices is ideal and cheaper, chances are people will just throw them away and buy new ones. Whichever route they take, most devices end up in landfill and only a fraction of their parts can actually be reused or recycled due to their composition. Either way, it’s not a sustainable situation for our future.
Coffee makers may not be the most common consumer electronics in the home, but their pervasiveness and how they work makes them ideal for a thought experiment. Kara is the result of such a process, resulting in a modular coffee maker designed to last forever, even if the manufacturer has stopped producing spare parts. The secret is that these parts can be 3D printed when access to the original is no longer possible. The more technical components can be replaced or replaced with other electronics as long as they are still in production.
Unlike most designs that encourage repairability, Kara does not require advanced knowledge or skill to make it possible. Some parts are connected with magnets, making it trivial to take apart and reassemble the coffee maker. A small screwdriver is also included with the machine and spare parts for those parts that require a little more handling. The process is easy for anyone to carry out, but the machine also offers step-by-step instructions via the integrated screen or a connected smartphone.
Different parts of Kara use different materials, and these use different colors for easier identification. It also creates a unique look to the coffee maker, making it slightly different from other coffee makers that usually include black and silver motifs. It’s definitely an interesting solution to the sustainability problem, one that coffee lovers can embrace to make them feel good while sipping their cup of joe.