Interview with designer Yi Teng Shih and Jiani Zeng (YZ), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Easy Soup Mat Thermal Insulation and Support The Soup.

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Interview with Yi Teng Shih and Jiani Zeng at Monday 25th of August 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
YZ : When having a meal at home, we may use the pot as the vessel for the soup directly, since it can be very convenient and you can have less dishes to wash. However, the soup ladle cannot be used when there are still a lot of soup left in the pot but too shallow to be collected due to the thickness of the soup ladle cannot be ignored. So we came up with this idea, by inclining the soup pot, the soup left in the pot will be deeper and easy to be collected by the soup ladle. Since the pot will always be very hot after cooking the soup, a mat is always needed to be placed beneath the pot in order to prevent the pot burn the surface of the dining table. Consequently, we found it that the mat and a supporter can be combined so as to make the pot inclined.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
YZ : The main focus is to make the pot inclined with minimum tools and steps, and make the inclined pot stable.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
YZ : We haven’t really considered the future plan for this design yet, but we will treat this design as an acceptance of our work.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
YZ : It took us a few months, start from discussing the idea and the concept, sketching, selecting the concepts, building the 3D model and rendering.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
YZ : It is not a commissioned project, we decided to make this design based on one of our members brought up the problem that also bothers us, so we think it can be a good idea to try to solve this problem.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
YZ : It is not being produced or used by any company, if there is any company who is interested in this design, please feel free to contact us.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
YZ : When having meals at home, collecting soup has long troubling us, several alternatives have been tried, but the outcomes are not good. For example, pouring the soup to your own bowl always result in pouring the soup on the table; using a smaller or flatter soup ladle results in a lot of repetitive work. So we tried to solve this problem and made this design.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
YZ : No

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
YZ : Chinese customers, because they always use the pot as the vessel for the soup and place it on the table.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
YZ : As far as we were concerned, there are heat isolation mat designs that can change the size, but there is no design that supports an inclined soup pot.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
YZ : The name “easy soup mat” simply represents the meaning that this design is based the purpose of making collect soup easier.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
YZ : We used several design tools, including brainstorming, sketching, building 3D models and rendering with computers.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
YZ : The most unique aspect of our design should be the function that inclining the pot and place it on the table with stability, so the user can collect the soup with the soup ladle very easily.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
YZ : Only our team members.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
YZ : Technology can be represented by the use of material, we chose heat resistance silicon rubber as the main material, since it is easy to clean, soft enough to bend and strong enough to support the pot.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
YZ : Not really, but we made this design based on the experience we had when we have meals at our friends’ home, and when we talked about this topic of having troubles in collecting soup, we found it is very common among all of us in different parts of China.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
YZ : There are several challenges, some of them including how to support the pot, how to make the pot stable and how to fix the support structure.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
YZ : Among three members of our team, two of us are undergraduates and one is our teacher, it is our teacher’s idea to submit this design to an international competition.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
YZ : We learnt a lot through the progress of making this design, such as focusing on the function and try to realize it with the simplest approach. Meanwhile, there are many other ways to achieve the same function, but you need to know the pros and cons of each methods and select the very one based on your purpose, in other word, exploring is good, but you need to know there is a time for you to make the decision.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
YZ : It feels really great to have this award, hoping we can have more in the future.