Friday, November 12, 2010

Vacu Vin Container

While cruising around CORE77, the go-to ID blog, I stumbled upon this post, praising a Vacu Vin product for dispensing candy and nuts.

I think it's utterly useless and a waste of material.

CORE77, however, does point out a few things that maybe justify its existence.
1 - It's good to see designers exploring applications of new materials. Their use of silicone in the product truly reflect the properties of the material (flexible, elastic, tacky- in the sticky sense of the word) and was the right material choice.

2 - The form of the bowl and lid, when closed, create a water-tight and air-tight seal, two qualities that are important in food container design.

And here's where I think it lacks:
1 - What's the point? Most candy that I'd be dealing with or putting in the containers would already be in an easy-to-dispense bag. Why would I need more clutter?

2 - While I think the form is quirky, in order for it to work, the bottom (as CORE77 describes it, "bundt cake pan" shaped) needs to be in a plastic (probably an HDPE) in order to be practical (weight wise.) However, I've noticed that a lot of food containers are now going to glass & ceramic route- and this form would be TOO heavy in either of those materials.

3 - One of their main selling points is the idea of "hygenic" dispensing of snacks. However, the form and scale of it really limit what you can put in it. M&Ms, which is what they use in the video for example, you can just easily tilt and roll out of the bag. It's other finger foods that would need a container like this- foods like chips, which you have to reach into the bag for.

I'm sure there's other details to either nit-pick or praise, but that's all for now. It just infuriates me a little that this product received a 2010 Good Industrial Design Award (Netherland-wide.) If this is the best design to come out of The Netherlands in the past year... I'm a little saddened by that.


Here's the video of the thing in action, set to 70s porno music:

Here's the original CORE77 article, and here's the product on the Vacu Vin site.


1 comment:

  1. Actually I think it's quite the opposite of a waste of material. Consider this: Our user is a vacu-vin fan and also has their cereal saver (or maybe they've got a tupperware or something similar, large sealable container) and they buy their snack foods in bulk. Boom. Perfect. The user goes to the local bulk barn or wherever (supposing we're in the future and retailers/everyone clues in that it is packaging itself that's wasteful) brings her empty resealable containers with her, buys all the m&ms she needs for the week, they're her favourite snack food and she likes to bring a couple handfuls to work to snack on through the day. She fills up her larger containers, does her other shopping in much the same way, milk is dispensed into her reusable glass jar. Goes home, the next day she uses this vacu-vin pop-some container to bring a few m&ms to work. It's perfect because she can throw it in her bag without worrying it would open accidentally, and she can pop out handfuls whenever she wants without the contents just sitting in the open. Plus she saves money by buying in bulk and creates zero waste from packaging, as you would in your scenario of just buying a bag of m&ms whenever you wanted some. Perhaps in the Netherlands there are more stores supporting this far more sustainable distribution method, which might help to explain this product's reason for existing.

    I don't think you looked at the bigger picture, design doesn't exist in a vacuum. I can agree that the glass bottom may be too heavy for some people's preferences. Glass is, however, a much better material for recycling. HDPE is usually only downcycled to lower grade HDPE material, while glass can simply be melted and reformed as long as it's sorted properly, it's actually easier, and less energy-intensive to recycle glass than it is to MAKE virgin glass.