Thomas Mair’s modular Kara coffee machine is designed to be easily repaired without the need for specialized tools or technical knowledge. The shell is designed so that each part can be 3D printed if you don’t have access to its original replacement, and technical components — which are part of an open system — can be easily replaced or substituted.
Thomas Mair’s modular Kara coffee maker is meant to be repairable, recyclable, and long-lasting, setting a more sustainable norm for home appliance design. To decrease landfill trash and extend the life of each product, the product designer builds the machine consisting of simple, clearly labelled modules that can be switched out quickly and without any technical expertise or tools.
Kara, with her appealing appearance that gives a dash of colour to the kitchen counter, encourages users to repair the machine if any difficulties emerge. The maintenance procedure is guided by simply labelled components, a printed instruction manual, and an interactive touchscreen.
A Modular Design
According to Thomas Mair, “the way we regard technology is essentially wrong.” When an appliance breaks, we replace it rather than repair it. When we do, only around one-fifth of electronic items get recycled, according to estimates. This cannot and will not be sustainable.’
To address this issue, the designer devises a new method of designing and manufacturing electronics that considers the whole life cycle of the product and supports maintenance and repairability while minimising waste. As a result, if a coffee machine becomes broken, the only logical option is to fix it.
The Kara coffee machine by Thomas Mair is meant to be readily fixed without the use of specialist tools or technical knowledge. The shell is constructed in such a way that each part may be 3D printed if the original replacement is unavailable, and technological components — which are part of an open system — can be simply replaced or substituted. The machine is easy to disassemble and recycle, and it employs different colours to designate separate plastic pieces for easy usage and a beautiful appearance to brighten up the kitchen.
Kara also primarily relies on design cues to signal to the user its repairability. On a daily basis, consumers engage with the front, which includes everything they could need to make a cup of coffee, while the hidden rear is dedicated to maintenance and repair. Meanwhile, internals are not concealed but rather integrated into the design. Labels make it even clearer when each part is in its proper place, and aligning magnets make assembly a breeze. A small touchscreen informs the user about the maintenance processes, while a supplementary user manual explains each step simply and logically for the layman.
Thomas is a product designer living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, who is originally from South Tyrol in Italy. He graduated in 2022 from the department of Motion at Design Academy Eindhoven.
During his education, he worked as a product designer for Anex, BlueCorner, and Grindosonic at Raak Design in Belgium.
His work is mostly focused on speculative solutions, with the goal of making complicated situations simple and intelligible. He wants to show the world that by rethinking the systems we live in, we can use the planet’s resources far more effectively than we do now. His designs are contemporary, relevant, and extremely realistic, attempting to depict the future as if we were now living in it.
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