In collaboration with Chef'n for a UW Design Studio Class, I sought out to create a mobile cooking device, intended for use in RV's, Vans, and Micro-apartments without full kitchen setups. Through research, interviews, and survey, I landed on several design issues I sought to address.
1. Multi-function: In small spaces, devices need to serve multiple use cases in order to justify their presence.
2. Approachability: A device can have many features, but if said features aren't intuitive, they're unlikely to be used.
3. Ease of Cleaning: Tools that require less cleanup are more appealing in areas with little space.
In exploring this area, initial concepts included ideas like portable ovens, convertible oven/stove combos, and electric slow cookers. With many of these, certain goals were met, such as cleanliness, or multi-function, but ultimately there was little innovation and a lack of strong enough diversion from competitor products.
I landed on a modular pot system that iterated on the WonderPot camp cooking system from the 1970's. By combining a Bundt-pan like center cooking tray, a convertible lid that operates as a pot and a pan, and a heating disk beneath it all, I created a system that allows for users to pan-sear, boil, and bake all in one 18 in. X 16 in. device.
The heating tunnel that runs through the middle tray and the heating disk allows air to flow in the same way that it does in a convection oven, but only requires a small burner sized heating source. Furthermore, the system offered the simple multifunctionality I sought while making a simple two pan cooking system that requires minimal space and requires little cleanup due to its compacting of multiple pans/pots into one single device.
Ultimately, the work created was one that can be used easily on the go in Vans and RVs, but ultimately is a device that can act as a full-fledged miniature kitchen buildout in any setting whether that be the wilderness or the city.