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The challenge of this design program was to develop a unique and highly profitable consumer appliance that would allow The West Bend Company, a manufacturer of small kitchen appliances typically sold in mass merchandising channels, to enter the upscale home and specialty appliance market.
Using an existing but unprofitable hot air pop corn popper design as a basis, Brooks Stevens and West Bend designed an affordable, fully automated and easy to use coffee bean roaster that offers the convenience of roasting green coffee beans at home in a matter of minutes to achieve a custom roast and the freshest coffee possible. The consumer can choose one of three preset roast settings, or program customized roasting settings to individual taste. It is a simple and intuitive to use appliance that quickly overcomes the initial consumer hesitation with similar electronic appliances.
The expressive design makes a strong visual statement that relates to its function, use, and purpose. The fully exposed glass roasting jar and the agitation of the coffee beans created by the hot air stream “animates” the product and transforms the new appliance into a functional piece of sculpture that rises above the sameness of strictly functional and need based appliances.