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#onecupofcoffee Serdal Korkut Avcı and Nihat Duran

The starting point in creating the next product family came with the aspiration to make a machine that could “brew Turkish coffee not in the usual manner, but in a way to appease the coffee drinking habits of Europeans.” The solution proposed has accomplished, for consumers nationally and internationally, the task of making Turkish coffee in a cup with the simplicity of making an espresso. We made coffee an excuse to meet up with Industrial Design Director Serdal Korkut Avcı and Small Household Appliances and Consumer Electronics Design Manager Nihat Duran. They talk about team spirit at Arçelik, a company that offers innovative products to consumers with its own designs and R&D prowess.

We made coffee the pretext to get together with you today. What’s the significance of coffee in your lives?

Serdal Korkut Avcı: I drink coffee in the morning to wake myself up. In the morning, I prefer other coffees to Turkish coffee since the latter is a little strong to use for first waking up. For me, Turkish coffee has a calming effect and provides an opportunity for conversation. I like to drink it in the evening after dinner as a social quality time.

Telve has been revamped. What parts of Telve did you and your design team change to distinguish it from the previous generation design?

S.K.A.: I’ll get my designer friend Nihat to speak on this subject. We had started the coffee machine design process a while back, creating the basic concept around 2001 and 2002. The product found its place in the market at the time. After gaining ground in the field, we saw Telve being used at homes and places of business, and even by coffee chains. So, we began brainstorming to figure out if we could update it through an alternative method. Tons of ideas were generated. I’ll let Nihat tell the rest.

Nihat Duran: The team I was in and the R&D team began collaborating on the design of the second generation Telve.  We aimed to come up with a product that could take on diverse shapes. We wanted Telve to suit people’s kitchens. Our main goal was to conceive a one-of-a-kind product with a unique design; something that could be painted or coated easily and with production details such as screws, molds, connections, and ventilation hidden out of sight.

S.K.A.: Our desire was to give it a modern look and the appearance of a monoblock object. We wanted it to be convenient for customization with different materials and at the same time, be easy on the eye.

N.D.: Naturally, that was no easy task. We were saying, “Get rid of the screws, hide the connection details, and get the mold to work,” under challenging conditions. We accomplished it through good team work. All the details are hidden under the lid. We designed various versions, including in wood and leather; however, these are not on the market yet. We fashioned products that would appeal to a variety of users, and applied for awards.  Finally, we came up with a universal design.

S.K.A.: First of all, the form was designed and images were evaluated. When implemented, the end product had to be perceived as timeless. With this in mind, the design was reviewed once again. Nihat thought it crucial to create a product family during the design process. There was also parallel work done to decide which versions would be built. The first generation of Telve was developed for home use.  In time, businesses began to use it as well. A two-pot version followed the single-pot version. While conducting research for the new generation of machine, previous models’ sales profiles were analyzed. The first new generation version was decided to be a single-pot Telve since it was the most popular type in the past. Our R&D and technical teams made progress in stages by focusing on the first version we wanted to release. The Telve Capsule followed the single-pot Telve. There was also good news regarding the awards applications. We became the first company in Turkey to win an “IF Gold Design Award” in kitchen appliances sector.

As you are managing its design team, you must have a great say in the organization you are member of. You must have run into difficulties in that regard. In addition to R&D, you also need to find common ground with other departments that play a role in processes like production, logistics, and marketing.

S.K.A.: Design is crucial for Arçelik. We have a design team that takes its job seriously and strives to develop itself. We have plans to grow further in the future as the product areas we deal with grows. We have 10 national and international brands, and operate in more than 120 countries worldwide. Our team turns products into the fundamental values our brand desires to convey. It is inevitable that ideas clash in the design stage. Harmony may need to be worked on. Brand perceptions can be consistent and lasting, if you are able to use your design to express a coherent language as far as is possible. We may implement a strategy to market certain products with different brands in different countries in accordance with the size of their economies. Design becomes critical here as well as we find answers to the question, “What do we need to change to make it better to ease users life?” In terms of the business model, we make all kinds of products to make life easier in the home for people. It our design team’s responsibility at first step to come up with the visual aspect, select production materials, and develop the story and usage scenarios of the product.

After the design team effects these scenarios and a detailed product offering, the integral process of building the product in cooperation with the associated R&D & Marketing teams follows. The capsule Turkish coffee machine, whose design process Nihat explained, is an example of a joint development project starting from the idea, completed with the R&D team. Each designer in our team may be involved with multiple product designs simultaneously. The same is valid for the R&D team. There are different R&D teams for different product groups, such as dishwashers, washers, cookers, and e.t.c. We, as the design team, take the responsibility to create unique and innovative products with supporting infrastructures created by our R&D teams. We conceptualize the user experience as well as the form. We develop methods and get involved in the process all the way. Nevertheless, the results may not be as intended at the beginning due to a various of reasons. We can say that Telve was built with a nearly 99 percent adherence to its original design.

We are curious to learn your take on new generation coffee chains.

N.D.: I’m for the new generation coffee chains. We receive a number of reports about coffee consumption . Turkish coffee is a rising trend in many countries, including those in the Far East. Rising demand and a growing number of coffee shops play a major role in this. I want Turkish coffee to expand into Europe. This machine may get the ball rolling in this direction. You see, it’s prepared like an espresso.

S.K.A.: Today, coffee shops are where social trends arise. They’re not on their own, they could exist in a ‘‘shop-in-shop’’ situation as well. Sometimes, the coffee shop is situated within a store, so that you can take a break from shopping to enjoy a short conversation... Maybe this is more appealing. A whole new space will be created for those who love the taste of Turkish coffee, since it is now possible to serve it fast like an espresso, without having to go through the drawn-out procedure.

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