3D Printed “Subsea” Coffee Set Honors Norwegian Maritime Living

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3D-printed-subsea-coffee-vera-kyte-designboom-07The west coast of Norway boasts a massive offshore maritime industry that attracts workers from all around the world. The municipality of Bergen, for example, is the administrative center of Hordaland, and has a population of approximately 277,000 which includes migrating workers. These workers come because Norway’s west coast is an international center for subsea technology, offshore petroleum, shipping, and aquaculture industries. Founded originally as a trading crossroads in 1020 or 1030 AD, Bergen retains its strong maritime heritage, but you can’t ignore its changing labor demographics. Between 1993 and 2008, the number of foreign-born immigrants who had relocated to Norway’s west coast comprised about 16% of Bergen’s population. They come from over 180 different countries seeking work in the still growing maritime industries.3D-printed-subsea-coffee-vera-kyte-designboom-08

Also on Norway’s west coast is the municipality of Florø, which also shares changing immigrant labor demographics with Bergen, rendering it the subject of a recent design lab featuring 3D printed work by a Bergen-based design team. Much smaller than Bergen, with a population of almost 9,000, Florø was founded in 1860 with a local economy that originally relied on herring fisheries, eventually growing into the shipbuilding, service, and petroleum industries. In order to honor the Norwegian west coast’s longstanding maritime traditions that continue to thrive into the 21st century, the Bergen-based design team — Vera & Kyte — has merged the old and routine practice of making coffee with the latest in 3D printing technology to create the prototype. This project was inspired by historic fishing villages like Florø, and a design assignment that focuses on changing social identities due to massive labor migration.

logo-sort-300x111Vera Kleppe and Åshild Kyte make up the Vera & Kyte design team, and they seek “to constantly explore new materials and aesthetics” in all of their projects. This is exactly what they did in their hyperfunctional, 3D printed Subsea Coffee set, which seeks to acknowledge how migrant labor shapes the local social life. For Vera & Kyte, the common ritual of making coffee symbolizes the intersection of labor and social life.

The designers explain on their website:

“We decided to work with the slow brewing of coffee as a means of taking time for social interaction. We picture this social brewing ritual being implemented as a natural part of the everyday workflow. An arena to establish a more personal relation to co-workers that can go beyond the workplace.”

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Hyperfunctional is exactly the word to describe this 3D printed coffee set, which was presented at the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015. The set, which consists of a tray, milk jug, sugar bowl, coffee pot, dripper, and cups, was designed as part of the Biennale’s investigative design program known as “Ideal Lab,” which had a theme of “Replanted Identity” in 2014.

The lab invited artists and designers to address the issue of changing local identity through labor migration, with the town of Florø being one of two chosen locales of focus. The Subsea Coffee set was Vera & Kyte’s contribution to the lab, and it appears they perfectly captured the spirit of the theme by merging two things that are simple, social, timeless, and essential: coffee and the maritime tradition itself.

Let us know what you think of this sleek design in the 3D Printed Subsea Coffee Set forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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