Designing BU Water
May 20, 2016
Although BU began in 2013 as a maker of bamboo tableware, our aspiration was always to expand our sustainable designs to a range of everyday products.
Over 50 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away each year, and sadly, the biggest use and waste is from countries with access to drinkable tap water. To try and fight this fast growing issue, in 2015, we decided to design a water bottle filter which would encourage people to drink tap water. To do this we knew we had to create something that people would be proud to carry around and display rather than an utilitarian vessel that people keep hidden in bags or end up keeping at home.
The first step in the design was researching and testing activated bamboo charcoal as a filtration system - a method the Japanese have been using for hundreds of years to purify water. Despite filtered water bottles already being on the market, the bamboo filtered water bottle is new and unique to BU. Seeking a modern and original design, we went against the flow and chose not to encase the filter but instead focus on the natural beauty of the bamboo charcoal.
The decision to have our filter in full view meant the rest of the bottle had to be built around this concept, we started experimenting with different shapes and while the final version of the BU Water Bottle has a very minimalist appearance, achieving this shape and look took a remarkable number of iterations. Richard spent days sketching out the structure by hand and constructing physical mock-ups using 3D printing and SLA prototyping. Each model was passed on to Armine and the two analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of every minute detail. After rinse and repeating the process numerous times, the water bottle started to take shape.
Vision To Reality
As a design company, we’ve always been huge fans of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo as they’re a true hub for the world’s newest and most innovative products. Last winter we ran a Kickstarter campaign and smashed our target to bring the BU Water Bottle to life. The campaign was great not only for the money raised but it’s been great having a community of supporters that have your back and provide incredible feedback.
Good design isn’t cheap. Often product designers have to cut corners when bringing a new product to market in order to lower manufacturing costs and satisfy retailer demands for big profit margins. We decided to go against the flow and cut out the middleman by operating as both the manufacturer and ecommerce business - controlling the whole process. Selling directly to consumers has freed up cash that we’ve put back into the product, allowing us to stick to our original vision of aesthetics, health and sustainability.
We’re extremely excited for the launch of the BU Water bottle this summer - it’s available now to preorder here.