Bodum on the importance of design and colour

Bodum has carved a reputation as being one of the industry’s greatest design influences. It discusses why product success is not just about style, but using sustainable products with strong functionality.

For the past 74 years, Bodum has developed a product range that is committed to craftsmanship and German architect Bauhaus’ famous ideology of “form followed by function”.

Any customer looking at the range of Bodum products would first be drawn to its striking colour palette: bright reds, oranges, blues, pinks, yellows, and greens. Being bold and noticeable is no mistake. Back at Bodum HQ in Switzerland, the company’s in-house design unit, PI-Design, works to produce products that are inventive in their shape, proportions, and functionality, mostly with Danish and Japanese influences which embody Director Jørgen Bodum’s liking for simplicity. Seasonality plays a role in colour inspiration, as does festive occasions, and even the fashion runway. 

The most attractive part for customers, however, is the Bodum price point. Jørgen’s father had the view that “good design doesn’t have to be expensive.”

It’s a motto that Jørgen has carried through his management of the business. He also believes design can be paired with sustainable materials. For example, Bodum has been using bark since the mid ‘70s. The material has made a huge comeback in Bodum’s modern range. This includes serving trays, wine and water carafes, its dry martini set, travel press, tea and coffee cups, and Bodum’s chambord and teapot assam. 

“Bark is a timeless material, not only because of its beauty and functionality, but because it’s one of the world’s most sustainable materials,” says Irene Sale, Bodum Country Manager. 

Cork is also a prominent material in Bodum’s product range, a 100 per cent natural and stainable product. Every nine years a cork oak tree’s bark can be completely harvested. Cork is also a thermal insulator, water and airtight, elastic, light, and soundproof, and beautiful to look at and smooth to touch. 

In the early years, Bodum imported glassware to Denmark to make its vacuum coffee makers. Today, the company continues to use the best quality glass in its collection while evolving to shatterproof plastic for outdoor tumblers, and introducing a bamboo handle to its Assam tea press range.

“What’s been really interesting about Bodum’s product development is the notion of what’s old is new again – but Bodum does it with a twist,” Irene says.

Like many espresso machines in the coffee industry, companies are reverting back to traditional products in revamped ways, such as Bodum’s e-Pebo electric vacuum brewer, which Irene says continues to fascinate customers because its theatre and science-like appeal.

“Good design can be represented in terms of simplicity, less wastage, longevity, and versatility,” Irene says. “The e-Pebo, for instance, can be used for tea and coffee, and many of our devices can be used for hot and cold drinks. It takes just four minutes to make a coffee with a traditional Bodum brewer. No fuss, just great coffee.”

Bodum remains a trendsetter of hospitality design, so much so that the company continues to fight off imitations from companies looking to take on altered versions of its product range. It’s been said that copying is a form of flattery, but Bodum would rather keep its design patented, and fight as many legal battles as it can manage. 

Bodum products are the envy of worldwide design representative. Its products are used in company catalogues, and even 30,000 feet in the air in Qantas business class where Bodum’s coffee makers, water infusers, and tea jugs travel the skies. 

In the second half of 2018, customers can expect Bodum to unleash an outdoor tumbler range of products made from Pavina glassware design and polycarbonate, which are chip resistant, affordable, and bound to attract. 

“Design is everything. First and foremost it’s about practicality, but then its about visual beauty,” Irene says. “Design always tells a story, and I think that’s part of the reason why people connect to the brand.”  

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