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Tea's made

The Dutch are well known for their love of tea, and what better way to drink it than from a giant personalized mug?

By Cassandra Pizzey / 26-05-2011

Design duo Dave Hakkens (design academy Eindhoven) and Lieke van der Vorst (Art Academy Breda) have started a project specializing in custom-made tea mugs, named Your Big Tea Mug.

After discovering a fundamental flaw in many sustainable products ("they are made to be thrown away"), Hakkens and Van der Vorst decided to design a product that would really stand the test of time; stemming from their love of tea. "Because we both drink a lot of tea, we're constantly refilling our mugs, that's how the idea for a really big mug came about," recalls Hakkens.

"A lot of products are thrown away too quickly because we are not really attached to them," continues Hakkens. "People tend to just buy new products when old ones are broken, but we believe this is a real shame. We wanted to make something so special, so unique that you would never ever think of throwing it away."

Utilizing Hakkens' product design background and Van der Vorst's experience in illustration, the two have created a fun yet practical product in Your Big Tea Mug. Upon ordering a personalized mug, customers are asked what they would like featured on their tea cup. Van der Vorst then makes a graphic design in her own distinctive style, incorporating all kinds of personal things relating to the individual.

The mugs are handcast by Hakkens from ceramics and baked at 980 degrees, after which Van der Vorts applies the illustration with the aid of a special tool, then the glazing is applied and the cups are re-fired at 1040 degrees - ensuring they are dishwasher, microwave and oven proof. "We chose materials that are good quality so the products should last a lifetime (or three)!" states Hakkens.

This mindset and work method should also eliminate a certain amount of energy squander, pollution through transport and general waste material. "Nowadays we see a lot of stuff made to ultimately be thrown away in the form of crade-to-cradle, green design, etc. But we believe this isn't necessarily a good thing. The quality of products is often compromised and thus people treat them differently. Our products will be handled with care and could even be passed down to the next generation!"
All images courtesy of Dave Hakkens

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