The coolest thing about SodaStream is watching it do its job, "aerating fluids," as the brand’s spiritual founder, London distiller Guy Hugh Gilbey, put it way back in 1903. It’s that moment when you push down on the canister and see an inverted geyser of bubbles invade the capsule of water at breakneck speed. You ought to be able to observe it clearly, either from up close or sitting at the opposite end of the dinner table.
That visual effect, says designer Yves Behar, was a guiding principle behind the design of the SodaStream Source bottle, which recently nabbed a Red Dot Design Award. He and his California firm Fuseproject redesigned the Source, the eco-friendly SodaStream unit the company released at the beginning of the year. Their bottle is a bottle rocket of sorts. It improves on the SodaStream experience by giving people what they want—a fireworks show—in a more minimalist medium.
"What we found is that many people wanted to serve the water directly in the SodaStream bottle, rather than transferring it to a pitcher," Behar tells Co.Design. "The entire exercise was to create a visually refined bottle that people would feel proud to display on the table."
The design’s comely teardrop shape is a foil to the machine’s rigid profile. Unlike erstwhile SodaStream bottles, it snaps, rather than screws, into the unit. The Source bottle is "more fluid, softer, and more continuous than the previous bottle," Behar says. It’s also free of superfluous graphics or markings, which, according to him, were reduced "as small as legal would let us." These aesthetic decisions contributed to crafting an elegant object that maximizes the SodaStream spectacle while still keeping things classy. (In other words, this is not the SodaStream of yesteryear.)
Interestingly, Behar explains that the Source bottle took longer to design than the rest of the Source project itself. "The immense challenge is that the bottles are very precisely engineered, and tested to a million cycles to be the safest solution," he says. In the end, the reusable bottle was rated to have a cycle of 5,000 uses. And the more times people can go back to the Source, the more plastic water and soda bottles they cut out of their consumption waste. (SodaStream claims that a single Source can save a household 550 disposable bottles every year.)
Behar says he was committed to conveying that environmental aspect through the bottle’s design. One way his team incorporated that feature, he says, is by eliminating all paint from the bottle template: "We pushed toolers and manufacturers to use the best engineering and plastics so we would not have to paint any of the parts." Another involved the overall cosmetics and components, which are materially and aesthetically minimal.
He hopes that the Source and the Source bottle will find a home among the stylish trappings of what he calls "the modern kitchen," an arena he's found to be quite stimulating, he says. Expect future ideas to bubble up.
See Yves Behar speak live at our Innovation by Design conference on October 2 in New York City. For more information, go here.