How do you re-design something that has been around since the beginning of time? Better yet, why?
“We’re redesigning water by re-inventing the very way people carry and consume it,” says Eric Barnes, founder of KOR and creator of the KOR ONE Hydration Vessel. “We considered calling it a reusable water bottle but that doesn’t come close to describing what we’re attempting. For us, the vessel is the experience.
” Made from Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the sleek, crystal-like vessel was developed around KOR’s three brand pillars: design, health and sustainability.
“It’s clearly a high-design product,” Barnes explains. “But health and sustainability are equally important to our brand.”
The health and sustainability pillars revolve around the benefits of hydration and a reusable product made from a tough, durable material manufactured without bisphenol-A (BPA). “We can affect the biggest change by inspiring people to drink water from a reusable container and help mitigate the footprint of single-use bottles,” Barnes says.
At the top of the list of the 100 design requirements for the KOR ONE was a material manufactured without bisphenol-A (BPA).
BPA is used to produce polycarbonate, traditionally the material of choice for sports bottles. The development of Tritan™ copolyester gives consumers a material that does not contain BPA while matching the clarity and toughness of polycarbonate.
“KOR is a very progressive and forward-thinking company,” says Kurt Botsai, vice president of innovation for RKS Design. “They want to make sure that their product is going to reflect the image of being responsible to the consumer and environment as a whole.
” Tritan™ also enabled RKS designers to meet another requirement – a “no worry” hinged cap that’s sonically welded onto the vessel and stays on while you’re drinking.
“The material welds beautifully,” says Jonathan Rolland of Nypro, the plastics injection molding company that’s manufacturing the KOR ONE vessel.
Sophisticated. Sensuous. Iconic.
These are just a few of the words used to describe the design of the KOR ONE vessel.
“What made this particular design rise to the surface is that it embodies the emotions of crystal in modern plastics style,” says Kurt Botsai of Los Angeles-based RKS Design. “We wanted a design that would be lasting and timeless.”
The 750 milliliter vessel has 14 different parts, including an encapsulating 360 degree trim that serves as a frame as well an ergonomic handle.
The trim is one of many distinctive design features.
The bottom of the KOR ONE resembles a beveled window. There’s no “gate” or notch in the center. “It gives this amazing view when you look at the bottom of the vessel all the way through the top of the cap,” says KOR’s Eric Barnes.
Etched into the front of the vessel, near the base, is the KOR logo, a water drop that has a cut glass look and feel.
And the hinged cap is topped with a rubber insert which encases a KOR Stone – a personal mantra that shows through the bottom of the cap when drinking. “We struggled and struggled with how to keep the cap on the vessel but ultimately achieved a breakthrough design,” Barnes explains. “A lot of innovation wound up on the cutting room floor.”
This makes the innovation that wound up on the vessel even more impressive.
The New Accessory
For Eric Barnes, KOR ONE is not a performance sports bottle.
“This is the new accessory,” says Barnes. “It’s an expression of your convictions with regard to style, health, and the environment. You want it with you at all times.
” The elliptical shape of the vessel tapers toward the top like an obelisk to create an iconic object – a work of art, if you will. Filled with water, the vessel takes on the soothing properties of a tropical aquarium. “You can sit there and just gaze at it,” Barnes adds. “It really is special.”
Barnes envisions the vessel showing up in corporate offices and meeting rooms, health clubs, stylish homes, and yoga studios.
The handle design, in fact, is the result of human factor studies where people in sports clubs were observed carrying bottles by the neck. “So we opened up the handle to create a spoiler effect and multiple points of engagement to make it easy to carry,” Barnes says.
Wherever the KOR ONE vessel goes, it’s almost certain to attract attention.