The Coffee Connector

  • Project Name: The Coffee Connector
    Client: Singapore Economic Development Board
    Partners: The Secret Little Agency, Octo
    Year Completed: 2014
  • In 2013, The Singapore Economic Development Board, with The Secret Little Agency, reached out to Tellart to conceptualize, design, and build a “connector” that both used and transcended the digital media that so often replaces a human connection today. As a group dedicated to facilitating productive connections between Singapore’s businesses and the world, the EDB wanted to create a statement piece that could travel to high-end conferences and spread their message.
    The Coffee Connector is a delightful, thought-provoking human experience. It is a beautiful object, a seamless digital interaction, and a social experiment all in one. Tellart collaborated with TSLA on the concept for the experience, and was responsible for interaction design, industrial design (with partners Octo), engineering, fabrication, and deployment of the Coffee Connector.
    The Coffee Connector brews a cup of coffee only when two attendees work together to request one. Its design was inspired by the beauty and function of a high-powered jet engine, and pays homage to the ritual of making coffee by showcasing the acts of grinding, boiling, steeping, and extracting. In addition to the physical workings of the machine, the coffee making mechanisms are also represented visually by a series of integrated animations and graphics. The two connected attendees are guided through an initial conversation with one another as they interact with the machine, and their names and details are custom printed onto a coffee cup sleeve to serve as a memento of the interaction.
    The Coffee Connector made its first appearance at The Economist Big Rethink Conference in New York City, and is currently traveling to events worldwide. Press headlines covering the Coffee Connector ranged from the insightful (“The LinkedIn Of Coffee Machines,” PSFK) to the ironic (“Machine That Makes You Mingle Before Coffee Is An Introvert Torture Device,” PopSci).
  • Designed to facilitate comfortable and friendly interaction between two strangers, The Coffee Connector delivered both a cup of a coffee and new connection to users. 
  • The Coffee Connector’s design was inspired by the beauty and function of the jet engine, as well as the process of grinding, steeping, and filtering coffee. 
  • Grinding, boiling, steeping, and extraction are brought into focus by the physical form of the machine. 
  • Touchscreen interaction introduced conference attendees to The Coffee Connector, and guided them through the experience.