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A quirky, all-in-one, alarm-clock-good-coffee-maker that was making its way around the Internet on design, tech and even hotel sites caught my eye. I thought it would be fun to find one next to a (certain kind of) hotel bed instead of relying on our smartphone alarm clocks.

So I reached out to the young designer – Josh Renouf – for a Q&A. He came up with the concept in his last year university. I liked his story, plus the fact that he sees this as a way for those of us who are glued to our smart phones – especially while traveling – to take a break. He calls it the Barisieur – a play on the words barista and connoisseur. I’d expect to see in a hipster-friendly hotel (an Ace Hotel, for instance, where Stumptown coffee plays a significant role in the hotel’s marketing), but you can suggest other hotels, of course. I’d see it in New York, London and Los Angeles, which have big coffee cultures. Maybe hoteliers will listen! Enjoy. – Barb (@barbdelollis)

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Q. What gave you the idea for an all-in-one alarm clock coffee maker?

A. The story of the Barisieur started when I took it upon myself to make sure I was not just creating just a concept, as you see a lot of students at university designing these blue sky designs, and may not even know how it would get produced. I wanted to design the product, whilst thinking about how it would be manufactured continuously. It was a challenge at first as I have more of a creative mind. I have never really been that good at engineering or electronics. But once I had a concept in mind I really wanted to prove it.

The whole idea which came to me for the product, was seeing all these dated teas-mades on the internet that were very ugly and bulky. I also research did some research in terms of the demand for such products, and John Lewis said that they get several request for the items annually. I saw this as an opportunity. Throughout the design process, I was very concerned about the size of the product as they do look very bulky on the bedside table, so I made it a one cup brewer. I wanted the user to be more engaged with the product as well, therefore I wanted to expose the process so it would stimulate all the five senses; the sound of the boiling/ seeing the process in which it boils/ the smell of the fresh coffee/ and the taste of the coffee. This is a product that satisfies your senses.

Q. Do you think that people – especially when traveling – will take the time to make a cup of coffee? 

A. Everyone has adapted such a fast pace to their environment and are constantly glued to their phones or laptop. I wanted something that would encourage a ritual before going to bed, to actually make people put their phones/ laptops down (seeing as staring at a screen before bed makes your more awake with the artificial light) signaling to the body it is time to unwind.

And even in the morning, people are complaining about “Ooohhh it’s Monday.” I thought this could bring people happiness to their mornings. Who does not like to wake up to a fresh cup of coffee or tea in the morning?!

Q. How does it work? What are the ball bearings for?

A. The metal Ball bearings can come in a number of sizes, and they actually are to boil the water. The reason I did this was because I wanted to come up with a safe way of boiling the water. I didn’t want the pad to get hot, so I researched induction heating. Induction heating I’m sure you know, does not make the surface hot, it creates an electomagnetic field that conducts the ferrous material above. However, I did not want to expose a metal, as this would get hot and might not be safe round the user, therefore I wanted to contain the element. After a lot of experimenting it occurred that stainless steel ball bearings (yes they conduct) acted well, and actually created a nice natural alarm once the water boiled. I thought I could work with this! So I did.

 

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Q. Does it also play music, like a clock radio? What sound does it make to wake you?

A. Having a radio was a big consideration to the design but I did not want to over complicate it, and due to it being induction heating I think it would of disrupted the radio signal. It does, however, have a USB point to charge one’s mobile device whilst they sleep. I know I don’t like waking up to a phone with 5% to last me for the day ahead!

Q. How does it keep the milk cold? And do you mix your own milk and sugar in, or does the clock do it for you?

A. The milk is Sealed with a rubber bung, and is hidden away so it does not spoil. I did incorporate a fan which would run simultaneously next to the induction heating element and the milk to add an extra cool temperature.

 

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Q. What’s your background? How best to ID you? “British designer”?

A. I am a Graduate from Nottingham Trent University, Graduating with a first class honours. I used to work for a great kitchen design company called Roundhouse, helping with bespoke kitchens. Then I worked for another great company called Duffy London, which makes incredible bespoke furniture.