DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
MA : We were eager to create a blender that people would want to use every day and not hide in a cupboard - where most of the kitchen appliances end up after the first weeks of use. Taking into consideration the fast-paced lifestyles people are leading these days, the blender had to be convenient, quick to use and clean. Millo’s design allowed us to achieve that.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
MA : The main goal of Millo is to inspire communities to adopt healthier and more sustainable diets. By combining the latest in FoodTech with timeless design, we want to make healthy food preparation simple, enjoyable and limitless.
Sleek and inspired in timeless shapes, the blender has been built not only to provide help in managing our healthy lifestyles, but also better integrate into interiors alongside other gadgets and furniture. To be used beyond the kitchen, we consider the Millo not an electrical appliance, but a gadget.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
MA : Our immediate goal is to successfully enter the market in Europe and the West Coast in North America. We want Millo to become an important product within the blender market, but we also want to be the drivers of a new category - the Foodtech gadget. We believe technology needs to do more for people’s health when it comes to nutrition, and conventional blenders are failing at this.
We want the product to give people the freedom to improve their nutrition in a convenient manner, with a product that is convenient to use and visually pleasant. We’ve designed Millo to be not only portable and technologically more advanced than other blenders, but also beautiful and suitable for any interior. We want to motivate people to use the blender anywhere, and for it to look good in any environment. In 2-3 years we hope that Millo will have started to drive an impactful change in people’s lifestyles.
The Millo blender is just a first step in the company’s journey. We want to make our patented Magnetic Air Drive technology the new gold standard for the contemporary kitchen. A contactless engine to drive a new generation of smart appliances.
Millo Appliances intends to create new products that will be compatible with the base of our award-winning blender. Following the same timeless design principles, Millo will provide a series of kitchen appliances that use rotation (juicer, coffee grinder, food processor, etc).
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
MA : The initial concept of the Millo blender was introduced in 2017 on the Kickstarter platform, where it raised over $100k in less than 30 days. The product design was finalized in a period of two years after the Kickstarter campaign. Yet, the final product is still under development with Millo commencing the pilot production in April 2020.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
MA : Millo was born out of the frustration experienced by the company’s founder Ruslanas and nearly everyone who makes smoothies. Blenders have not changed much since being invented in 1922 - they are still noisy, messy and hard to wash. This inconvenience can rob us of the option of a quick and healthy meal, making it harder to achieve a balanced diet.
Since the invention of the first appliances, our lifestyles have seen some drastic changes. Sometimes, these changes demand new inventions to help us lead our lives in these new contexts, and gradual improvements to existing products are not enough. Which is why we reinvented the blender, creating a true FoodTech gadget.
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?
MA : The design will be produced and sold by Millo Appliances. In fact, Millo has just commenced the pilot production of Millo blenders in April 2020. These blenders, which give Millo Appliances the opportunity to test the efficiency of its assembly line before moving into the mass production phase, lay the groundwork for mass production to commence in the coming months.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
MA : The idea for Millo blender came when Ruslanas, a dedicated runner and the founder of Millo Appliances, grew annoyed that his blender would wake his family every time he made a smoothie after his morning run. He was determined to create a convenient, easy to clean and silent alternative to the traditional blender. The inspiration for the engineering inside Millo came from a surprising source - his daughter. Seeing her play with a toy where two dancing figures were rotated by magnets gave him the idea for Millo’s patented Magnetic Air Drive.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
MA : The target customer for the Millo blender is the innovation seeker. Innovation seekers look for novelty, "first-to-have", “first-to-know” value. For him or her, a tech gadget is not just a tech gadget. It's first and foremost a lifestyle accessory - that has a gadgety quality to it. They take pride in their worldliness as well as competence by always having the latest cool gadgets, better from lesser-known than famous brands.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
MA : In terms of design, the Millo blender breaks with all previous blenders. Mashable has described Millo as “the blender Apple would make, if they made blenders”, whilst EU-Startups named Millo as one of the top 5 foodtech startups to look out for.
It stands out from other blenders, while standing in harmony with other modern devices at home (smartphones, tablets) and interior decorations.
Millo was created by taking a step back and completely rethinking what a blender should be in function and form. Scrapping the bulky machines of the past, Millo is a buttonless, cordless device that can blend anytime, anywhere. Few moving parts and a simple design make Millo exceptionally easy to clean, removing a source of labor and stress.
Millo was designed to be both beautiful and easy to use. It can be controlled by touching anywhere on the surface of its sleek, anodized aluminium base, or remotely through its intuitive app.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
MA : Millo can be divided into two parts:
1. Mill - which describes the main function of the blender
2. And added “O” stands for the form of the blender and its timeless shape.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
MA : SolidWorks modeling program
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
MA : The most unique feature is the Millo motor - patented brushless Magnetic Air Drive engine that allows for the contactless transfer of torque from the base to the blades. The motor consists of a magnetic coupling that spins the blades housed in the cup without having to actually be in contact with them.
It is the Magnetic Air Drive technology that enables Millo’s exceptional design. It is significantly smaller in size than the motors of regular blenders. No bulky looking mechanical parts are needed for the blending function, allowing the Millo device to be minimal and sleek.
DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
MA : Technology is the driving force behind the Millo blender. Improving your lifestyle starts from within. Creating a truly innovative consumer electronics product is the same.
With Millo, everything revolves around the patented Magnetic Air Drive motor. This motor consists of a magnetic coupling that spins the blades housed in the cup without having to actually be in contact with them. The brushless motor that drives the coupling is taken from drone technology – this is the first time these quiet motors have been used in a kitchen appliance.
Magnetic Air Drive enables Millo’s portability, and also means it is quieter than traditional blenders. The Magnetic Air Drive also makes Millo incredibly safe. Because it is magnetic, the blades are housed inside the blending lid itself, making Millo easy to clean and much safer than standard blenders. This safety is further supported by a three-level smart security system that ensures the blender can never be activated when the blades are exposed.
Millo is also fitted with a Bluetooth 4.0 connection so it can be activated via your smartphone. More importantly, the Millo app learns your preferences and enables healthy living patterns to be shared. The blender itself contains sensors which measure the consistency of your smoothie in real time. This enables it to adjust blending speed and ensure that your smoothies are blended perfectly every time.
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
MA : Research into Millo’s design focused on exploring modern aesthetic directions. The inspiration for both the colour palette and the form came from an exploration of various premium products and minimalist interiors. Functionality was naturally of key importance - pain points and areas for improvement were identified by testing numerous existing blenders. The greatest design challenge was maintaining a minimalist look while incorporating the complex electronics and mechanisms inside Millo’s base.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
MA : The challenge was to overcome existing perceptions of what a blender is. The basic design of the blender has not changed since 1922. These devices are typically chunky, aesthetically unappealing, noisy and difficult to clean. We set out to completely reimagine the blender. That’s why everything from the motor, to the design, to the materials has been engineered to make Millo something that is both a pleasure to use and an aesthetically pleasing item you would be proud to display.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
MA : Millo and A’design Award seemed like a natural fit all along.
The design was always at the heart of what makes Millo special and being judged by a professional jury was a great opportunity to prove our design concept to the world.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
MA : To achieve a product like Millo that combines the best of design with cutting-edge technology takes perseverance. There were many time-consuming iterations and challenges along the way, but in the end, you realize it was worth it. The project helped us to understand how much every small detail matters in design, and how important it is to follow through with setting and pursuing goals.