Cafetières, Disorder, Chaos and Anarchy

At breakfast this morning my wife spilt the coffee because she hadn’t aligned the strainer in the lid of a Bodum cafetière with its pouring sprout.



I suggest this is a stupid design, and “why aren’t the strainer holes all round the edge of the lid, and then it would always pour properly”.

At which my anatomy professor brother-in-law mischievously explodes that this “would bring disorder, chaos and anarchy into the world”.

My wife and her sister agree that there is more order in the current design and that it in some way it teaches you how it works. This is because with an approximate 5 to 1 chance of failure you just have to get it right and that having to think about the objects you are using is in some way good for you and society in general.

I disagree, I think the world is better ordered if you don’t have to think about how things work.

Incidentally, here on Skye cuckoos are signing loudly right outside the house.


The Bodum cafetière also has a strange unperforated symmetrical bulge opposite the strainer section. Is this a safety measure, so that you can actually prevent it from pouring altogether?

A haptic improvement would be to put a finger or thumb shaped indentation, or even a mark, in the lid above the strainer so that it could be more easily aligned with the spout.

About Graham Shawcross

Architect PhD student at Edinburgh University Interested in order, rhythm and pattern in Architectural Design
This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Architecture, Design, Haptic Objects, Objects, Products and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cafetières, Disorder, Chaos and Anarchy

  1. Something like this would do, particularly if you could feel the mark with your finger or thumb.

    And another thing or perhaps two. You also have to align the handle opposite the spout and if you do this correctly it obscures the instructions so that they cannot be read (in French or English).

    The cuckoos are still singing loudly outside.


    • charles says:

      Graham, thank you for the wonderful image of deaf cuckoos teaching their offspring the social niceties of communicating through BSL.

      Perhaps the lack of a grille is to help keep the coffee warmer? Or perhaps to reduce the risk of spillage during transit betwixt kitchen and parlour?



    • liz shawcross says:

      I really enjoyed this. Why do most teapots drip?


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