Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Porthole by Martin Kastner

I'm pretty sure that this particular scenario has happened to you as well: go to a restaurant and love the dinnerware so much to want to take it home with you.  The discovery by some customers that the object of their desires was not available to purchase in the market, led them to leave bars with some Portholes less at the closing time. We’re talking about a mind-blowing piece of design and here’s why Martin Kastner, founder and principal of Crucial Detail design studio, had to turn is custom design for Aviary (Grant Achatz’s restaurant and cocktail bar in Chicago) into mass production.

The Porthole is a decanter for infusions that maximizes the glass surface to appreciate the colors, herbs and everything that is infusible in a liquid. The idea of creating a standing canteen-shaped vessel was born during a conversation between the designer and the Aviary bar chefs preparing for the grand opening of the venue. They were talking about fast infusions, cocktails that are in constant evolution while served, and Kastner thought that what we really want when having such drinks is a window into another world, another space and time. Then, the inspiration for the design directions came from the movie “The Fabulous World of Jules Verne” by K. Zeman with its submarine porthole.

The materials were chosen according to the need to make an easy-to-use and extremely appealing piece of pure design. The Porthole is an infuser made of stainless steel and tempered glass with low iron content and food grade Delrin, which holds up to 390 ml of liquid. Each Porthole is equipped also with a set of three stainless filters of different sizes and a flexible silicone cap that can be used to seal the vessel containing “long-term infusions”.  Martin Kastner previous experience in material design and metal sculpture helped him to understand better what he wanted from this product. The Porthole shape is curvy and asymmetrical, but deep down is just a flattened bottle that breaks the rigidity and the narrowness of a usual infuser. It is a window on tastes and flavors, that leaves you decorate your infuse while it’s laid flat to fascinate your eye before your taste buds.

The Porthole history is signed by an incredible success that brought Kastner to launch a KickStarter campaign to found the production and commercialization of the product. Porthole convinced more than 4000 supporters and was fully founded in two hours from its launch and went on raising more than four times of the budget initially needed.
Kastner’s Porthole is now produced by a highly experienced and capable manufacturer and is dishwasher safe, durable and super easy to use. Porthole is an ensemble of ideas brought to life, an object where aesthetics meets functionality.


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