What could be more welcoming than a pot of tea in the morning? (Coffee drinkers, you are not allowed to answer that). From its humble beginnings in ancient China, the teapot has gone from obscurity to the height of luxury and finally to worldwide ubiquity, embedding itself firmly in the English language (”as useless as a chocolate teapot“) and becoming an object of adoration by millions, particularly the Brits. But now teapots are disappearing – at least the traditional kind are. The next generation of beverage-buckets are here and they couldn’t look more different from the norm, as these 19 examples show.
(Image via: Yanko Design)
Believe it or not, this is a teapot (rather than a model from 2001: A Space Odyssey) – and its curious, gorgeous design addresses the age-old problem of tea leaves. Those of us who insist on a full-blooded brew skip the tea-bags and go for the loose-leafed option…but are forced to faff about with a strainer to get the results into our cups. The Dione Tea Set is the best of both worlds by containing a fine mesh that traps the tea leaves in one hemisphere, and when you are ready for your cuppa, you flip the pot over, straining the tea through the mesh into the pot’s base which becomes your cup!
(Images via: Yanko Design and Gizmodo)
Is that pot still warm? Since there is little nastier than a tepid cup of tea (hot, good; iced, good; tepid, bleargh), modern designers have invented teapots that can tell you at a glance how hot their contents are. The Creativi*tea pot blushes to an appropriately flaming scarlet when it is up to temperature – while the Space Invaders pot lets loose its pesky interstellar critters from behind an innocuous pastoral scene when your tea is piping hot.
(Image via: Clothing Shoes Accessories)
Staying with teapots that should rightly be called tea-carafes, here is the snuggest of them all. The Eva Solo teapot’s winsome curves (because this pot is slightly kinky, let’s be honest here) are hugged by a zipped cozy to trap the heat inside. For those wishing a slightly less naughty-looking version, it also comes in black.
(Images via: Sorapot)
Now for a design that has got tongues wagging. Garnering the enthusiastic attention of Wired, Dwell, New York magazine, Apartment Therapy and many more, the Sorapot is a word-of-mouth marvel. Glance above and you can see why: the body is transparent and allows you to see your tea brewing, all without sacrificing the simply grab’n'pour functionality. Unclip, up-end, pop your leaves in, top up with hot water, reassemble…and enjoy the show.
(Images via: Peter Bo and Design Milk)
And for other teapots that look nothing like teapots? First up, the Maru, a torus of ceramic with a walnut base that wants you to slow down – which you most certainly would, as you struggle to work out what it is and how it works. Then there is the Potter, looking like a cross between a non-stick saucepan and a kettle (so much so that the product page comes with a warning for the unwary).
(Images via: design boom)
You have just woken, and you are blearily making your first cuppa of the day in the hope that it will give you the strength to go on. The Mistea is designed to catch your mood – shaped like a snail, it encourages you to take your unhurried time and enjoy yourself before things get manic. Just don’t get too comfortable.
(Images via: freshome and Yanko Design)
But if getting too comfortable is your guiding principle in life, aim for Lotte Alpert’s Lazy Teapot. Thanks to its rocking action when in dock, you don’t have to lift this pot to pour your tea – and the temperature control means you don’t have to expend a single second’s thought on wondering if it’s hot enough. The Zygo looks like it should do something similar, but in fact this sturdy, fantastically curved design (centred around a stainless steel sphere) is the traditional kind of pick-me-up beverage.
(Images via: TeaPottery and Book Hunter’s Holiday and thisnext and design boom)
Can’t tear yourself away from the computer screen or from your book, even for just one cup of tea? The Computea or Book Teapot might help (or make your problem worse – one of the two, anyway). If you’re feeling distracted or too tired to think, the Gun Teapot waved in your face should refocus your attention nicely…while the T-Pot’s function is obvious even to the fuzziest brain.
(Image via: design boom)
When teapots are having such obvious identity crises, it seems inevitable that many designers will turn to other non-beverage sources of inspiration…such as birds. The Birdy tea set copies the perky shape of our smaller avian friends- but for good practical reasons. The set’s tea-cups and saucers are fixed directly against the pot’s body, heating up as it heats up – so when you’re ready to pour, it is into pre-warmed receptables that won’t cool your tea before it reaches your mouth.
(Images via: Yanko Design and The Boston Globe)
The Cigno’s inspiration is obvious, and the design manages to look stunning and be practical at the same time – the handle is its ribbed-rubber neck. (Now to ruin the elegant vibe: would it be the perfect venue for a spot of teapot-blowing?) On similar lines, the So Fly copies the shape of a nesting black-headed gull (the “head” being a rubber lid).
(Images via: uberreview and designboom)
But the world is far from finished with the traditional teapot shape, as these two designs show. The Toaster Teapot slots in nicely with our current obsession with multifunction gadgetry, firing out slices of toast while your tea is brewing inside. Tropics, on the other hand, isn’t a teapot at all, it’s actually a citrus fruit squeezer…but the teapot shape lends itself so well to the idea that we’re amazed it hasn’t been thought of already. So, while faux-teapots dispense lemon juice, actual teapots are getting harder and harder to identify…all over a hot drink that is supposed to relax us! Ah, modern life.