Kitchen Canvas is a product that I designed along with two other students in the Integrated Design & Management program at MIT. The assignment was to design a kitchen product that we would need to subsequently manufacture and sell 50 units of, all within a seven week timeframe. The project culminated in a sales gala on Dec 11th at MIT Sloan where we sold out the remaining units of our product.
We settled on a cheese board / serving board for several reasons:
- • Because of the timing of the project and of sales gala, this product's audience is primarily gift givers. A serving baord is highly giftable because you can always have one more.
- • A serving board easily serves as a platform for art. Much of the value to buyers comes from uniqueness and expression.
- • This product holds the correct combination of beauty and functionality. Its value as an aesthetic statement piece is enhanced by its broad usability.
We wanted to leverage the fact that we are MIT students, and many of the people purchasing the product are MIT affiliated. To that end, we carved a bathymetric map of the Charles River, centered around the MIT campus. The carving is then inlaid with pigmented epoxy resin and polished to a high degree of shine.
We chose live edge olive wood as our material. The live edge aesthetic tested well with our initial group of users, and so we used that as a constraint when choosing which wood to source. Olive wood is an incredibly beautiful wood with lots of figuring and color contrast between the heartwood and sapwood. It is also very expensive and very difficult to work with. It's hard, oily, and prone to lots of cracking that we had to fill in with resin on a case-by-case basis.
All IDM teams are formed of one engineer, one designer, and one business person. I served as the engineer on our team, doing all of the CAD and CAM, design for manufacture, and materials selection. We also split up equal parts of the design research portion, interviewing users, ideating, and collecting feedback.