Hot & Cold
Research • Conceptualizing • Prototyping • Final Design

Design challenge

This was my final project for my bachelor of science "Industrial Design Engineering" for the company Zens. They make tableware. I chose the search area “a mix between two cultures: Dutch and Japanese”, focusing on tea. The challenge was to design a product for this search area that would fit the branding of Zens.

Team setup

For this project we analysed the company and its competitors as a group. From the company and market analysis, we split individually to choose a search area. This served as a direction for the design process.


Firstly, I made observations on how Dutch people usually drink tea. This served as a basis for a questionnaire to understand their tea culture better. Secondly, I went to a museum about the Japanese tea culture to learn more about their design and philosophy about tea.

This research resulted in the three concepts as shown below.


All concepts implemented aesthetics from the Japanese culture combined with tableware used in The Netherlands. For instance, the classic Japanese cup form factor is present on the tea pot and the double walled glass. The three mugs have the inside coated and traditional materials were used on the handles: bamboo, clay and stoneware.

All concepts were made in 3D in Solidworks to allow for renders and material selection.

Concept 1: Tea pot with the traditional Japanese teacup shape.

Concept 2: A set of 3 mugs that combine the material use of traditional Japanese teaware with Dutch materials.

Concept 3: A double walled glass with a single walled upper half.

Final Design

The company wanted a final design for the second concept as it was the more interesting option.

One of the design aspects of double walled glass people dislike is that they often burn their tongues and can not warm their hands. Which is why the top part is single walled and is hot to the touch to reheat your hands. This also allows the user to feel the temperature of the tea. To ensure the temperatures were reasonable, a thermal analysis was done.

The bottom half is double walled, so you can still hold the glass without burning yourself and this also keeps the drink warm for a longer time. Which is a main benefit of double walled glasses.

The design itself is based on the curvature of Japanese tea cups with the use of bamboo for the coaster/lid. It also fits inside the portfolio of the company Zens, maintaining their design style, production techniques and material use. A cost analysis was also done to estimate the production costs.