Thursday, March 8, 2012

Core77 Design Award Entry

Core 77 2012 Design Awards

Designer: Peter Ragonetti
Client: Independent
Team Credits: None
Project Handle/Hashtag: None
Project Website: None
What Month in 2011 Completed: December

NUTSHELL? A glass designed to distill the essence of whiskey without sacrificing temperature or flavor. A glass designed to be partially filled with water, then frozen, then topped with whiskey and then....savored. Due to surface tension with the ice, a critical delay in chilling the whiskey is achieved so that it is not rapidly diluted and more in-depth flavor notes can be enjoyed longer.

BRIEF? To enhance the overall enjoyment of a fine whiskey at the optimum temperature....”iced” but not diluted. In short, to avoid watery whiskey! How to combine the pleasurable jolt of tossing whiskey “neat” with the more subtle experience of sipping whiskey as it continues to chill in one sittingn -- “on the rocks”. Finding a gradually delayed whiskey-to-water ratio was the problem to be solved.

INTENT? As any whiskey drinker knows, the initial sip is all-important for its fullest spectrum of flavor. Over time, that sensory experience is diluted both literally and imaginatively. I wanted to see if a glass could be created that is “transitional”, that progresses from “neat” to “on the rocks”. After discussing this dilemma with bartenders and liquor trades people as well as fellow whiskey lovers, I decided to tackle the problem and design a workable solution.

PROCESS? I, like many others, had tried what are called “whiskey stones”....cubes of limestone that are meant to be chilled and then plunked down into a glass as ice cube substitutes. But I felt these to be clunky, possibly non-hygienic,, visually unappealing and often lending a subtle change in taste to the whiskey. So I decided to find a better way, unsure at the outset if it would even work.
I began by simply adding water to a glass and freezing it, making sure not to break the glass. With some trial-and-error and eventual success came the question: just how much liquid worked best to achieve a good “transition”. I needed to fashion a perfectly shaped glass with the optimal space to create what I now call the “ice puck”. I used rapid prototyping at this stage but something was still missing: a caddy to hold the glass – or two glasses -- in a stable position while in the freezer. After considering several stylistic variations on a general theme (from ultra modern to more traditional), I landed on an elegant two-glass, side-by-side profile. For added value and functionality, I then incorporated bamboo coasters which provided both more stability and tabletop appeal. Choosing wood without hydroscopic properties was also a critical design element in order to avoid undue expansion and contraction during temperature shifts. After one more RP model, I am now ready for to seek out production capital and sources.

VALUE? No other product is on the market to capture this experience of drinking fine whiskey in a uniquely time-lapse experience. It definitely falls into the “gladdening” category as it is totally SENSUAL (including the visual element as the “ ice puck” continues to morph into water and the color of the whiskey continues to change in slow motion) and delightfully EXPERIENTIAL. From a purely economic standpoint, why invest in a high-end whiskey only to have it become a pale, watery shadow of itself within seconds of adding even a single ice cube?

DIY? Through rapid prototyping, I have now achieved what I think is the perfect scale and shape for my product. Finding sources for the necessary glass casting, plastic and rubber molding and woodshopping of the bamboo are the next steps in the manufacturing process. But of course, the concept must first be “monetized” and I have every intention of raising the necessary capital to bring this product to the marketplace.

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