It took a professional musician-turned-MBA product designer to finally solve the widespread cocktail plate - drinking glass balancing act conundrum; in fact, the Philadelphia-based inventor's inspiration occurred while daydreaming about universal design challenges during a business school reception. The eureka moment was realizing that the heavy cup center of gravity had to remain in-hand; hanging glassware off a plate, like so many solutions on the market, is both precarious and inelegant.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Holdaplate is a simple solution to an age-old and universal problem: that awkward balancing act performed exclusively during a cocktail party, when we must hold a plate of food and a glass, one in each hand, while attempting to shake someone's hand or eat. A subtle, almost whimsical contour in the 6-inch plate's periphery allows for a glass of any size to easily nestle alongside, held in place by the user's index finger and supported effortlessly by the remaining fingers below.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Competing solutions are awkward, stemware-only, and look goofy; consumers subsequently revert to the familiarity of the traditional round plate. As such, the Holdaplate is EASY-TO-USE (cups not precariously hung off or balanced on plate), VERSATILE (works with any glassware type), and ELEGANT (beautiful for the most formal of gatherings). Because the user retains their cup in-hand, functionality (holding a cup and plate in one hand) is a fluid, natural hand motion to nestle the plate alongside.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Research and development for the Holdaplate was completed in June 2012, in Philadelphia and San Francisco, USA. The first manufactured samples were received and mailed out Jan 1, 2013, and eCommerce went live March 15, 2013.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Utilizing Rhinoceros Software, 40 nylon 3D printed iterations created. Stackability (no undercuts), thickness (benchmarked by industry standards and structural reqs), and final design simplicity, allow multi-material manufacturability. First production run, 1mm-thick dishwashable reusable recyclable injection molded Polypropylene, was chosen for the magnitude of demand for this particular material/thickness. Materials forthcoming: Melamine, porcelain, compostable molded-fiber-bagasse, and bamboo.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Standard size: 152mm x 127mm x 19mm (LxWxH) (165mm x 140mm x 19mm also available.)
Weight/Thickness: .68oz (1mm thick PP). 2.2oz (1.7mm thick Melamine). Other materials vary.
Package: Polypropylene plastic (6-Pack) in polybag w/ cardboard header card. Melamine (6-Pack) in 152mm square box w/ label.
Note: Majority of the plate/food weight supported by fingers underneath the plate, not by the index finger, creating an optical illusion and enhancing aesthetics by compacting the Lip-Groove area.
Cocktail, plate, appetizer, entertaining, tabletop, dish, wine, glass, cup, hors d'oeuvre
Cocktail party observations/interviews, revealed the problem universality, and inadequacy of current poor-selling solutions. 36 cardboard mock-ups, then 40 3D-prints each were tested with 25 people age 15-75, leading to subtle stability/sizing feature tweaks. Insights included (a) center of gravity (vessel) could remain in-hand while the plate nestled alongside, (b) smaller diameters felt more comfortable, and (c) majority of the plate weight could be supported by the fingers underneath plate.
Criteria critical to a plateware innovation's success:
EASE-OF-USE: No cups hung off or balanced on the plate
VERSATILE: Works with a broad range of glassware
ELEGANT: As beautiful as the standard round cocktail plate, suitable for the most formal of gatherings
MAINTAINS STANDARD BEHAVIOR: Glass/plate must remain in the user's left and right hand during 95 percent of use-time
SIMPLE: Critical for aesthetic and ease-of-use reasons, and also to keep costs down and to allow multiple materiality options.
TEAM MEMBERS (2) :
John Zox - Inventor / Designer and Ding Liu - Designer
John Zox & Ding Liu, 2012.