Press release

Graduand hopes his design is everybody’s cup of tea

Published on 25 May 2021

At a time when restrictions are easing and people are now allowed to invite their loved ones inside their home for a tea or coffee, a University of Dundee student has designed products to make this easier for those who might struggle

Product Design student Nick Fitzpatrick has made a trio of inclusively designed kitchen products as part of his final year studies at the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

He is among hundreds of students exhibiting his work at the online Art, Design, and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021.

Nick (22) has designed the products, which consist of an innovative kettle, a heating stand and a rotating tray, to assist the elderly and people with a range of disabilities while also being aesthetically appealing to those who do not require its functional benefit.

He was inspired to create the products after noticing his grandma, who usually welcomes her loved ones into her home with the promise of a warm drink, was beginning to struggle to use a standard kettle. He set to work to create something to make the process easier for her.

Nick is passionate about inclusive design and has created the stylish products in the hope they remove barriers of separation and stigmas that are attached with other assistive technologies.

“As a designer, I felt it was my responsibility to make something that would allow my grandma to go back to the days of when she could host people the way she wants to”

Nick Fitzpatrick

"I soon realised there are so many different kinds of people who struggle to use kitchen items such as a kettle, despite the fact that it's such a common item that you use for so many things.

“Unfortunately, there are stigmas associated with using assistive devices. Existing products such as kettle tippers, while functionally effective, are designed for people with physical disabilities and unintentionally cause separation.

“The goal with my design was to make it look appealing, no matter who you are, so that people like my grandma or people who might need to use it for the functional benefit wouldn't feel stigmatized.”

Of Nick’s three products, the kettle is the main feature. Nick has designed a dispensing kettle rather than the usual pouring kettle, which has two large handles so it can easily be moved and re-filled.

The second product is the stand the kettle sits on, which uses emerging technology of induction heating so that the kettle doesn’t have to have any electronic components inside it, keeping it light. The third product what Nick calls ‘the dock’, an object you can set the kettle on which has a ring to spin different ingredients around.

“The whole process has been lots of experimenting,” Nick continued. “I've been through countless prototypes and sketches to see what people think of the products

“I spoke with many kinds of people to see how the product could work for them. I also have a friend who has arthritis, and I was able to ask her lots of tricky questions without being worried about offending her. This really helped the process.

“I'm driven by making products that help people and hope I can continue to do this once I graduate.”

The launch of the Graduate Showcase will be broadcast live online on Friday 11 June to students, staff, families, friends and other visitors.

It celebrates the extensive achievements of the graduating students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and the department of Architecture within the School of Social Sciences. The work on display will represent the culmination of years of creative development and hard work, with the website featuring expanded information on all students, including extra images and video content.

The Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021 is available to view from June 11

Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878