Emilia Knabe

April / April - 2019

Universität der Künste Berlin


Rekettle is a modular kettle with a focus on a long product life. It represents an alternative to conventional, monolithically designed kettles which cannot be repaired due to their construction and choice of materials. Due to the interchangeability of parts the amount of e-waste can be reduced.

What is the Topic?

The topic of my project is electronic waste. Worldwide, 50 million tons of e-waste are produced every year with an increasing tendency and only about one sixth of it is recycled. Household appliances account for a considerable proportion of this. They are disposed of since repair is often not possible due to the design and a new purchase costs relatively little for the customer. However, these low costs happen at the expense of the environment. Rekettle is intended as an example of how a modular design and thus a longer product life can be achieved for everyday household appliances.

Why does it look like this?

Rekettle kettle looks minimalist, clean and technical. The parts can be assembled within 15 minutes. To underline this modularity, I chose an aesthetic that resembles a toolbox, but at the same time is rather simple. The transparency of the glass makes the open structure of the kettle and the individual parts more visible. The minimalistic, slightly futuristic appearance of the kettle underlines the concept and communicates a future-oriented thinking of the users.

What is special?

At the beginning of the project, I observed that many household appliances were disposed of carelessly. Why is this the case? Often there is simply no connection between the users and the appliances that do their job without any problems every day. An appliance like a water kettle is easy to replace. The special thing about Rekettle is that through the possible disassembly and individualization of the kettle a closer relationship between the users and the appliance can be established in order to support a longer product life and thus sustainable behaviour on the part of the users. Users invest time when they replace individual parts when something is broken. They also collect knowledge about how a kettle works. This makes it easier for them to repair the kettle if necessary instead of simply buying a new one.

What is new?

In contrast to conventional kettles, Rekettle has a modular design. This means that if, for example, the switch breaks, it can simply be replaced. Unlike conventional kettles, the entire appliance does not have to be disposed of. In this way a lot of useless waste can be saved. The kettle consists of nylon, borosilicate glass, silicone and stainless steel. Another new feature here is that all parts can not only be replaced, but can also be disposed of by type or recycled, which is not possible with conventional models since the individual parts are glued together.