Phase Design’s Duetto Espresso Cup

Phase Design was founded in Los Angeles in 2000 by self-taught designer Reza Feiz. Working within his philosophy of strength in simplicity, he uses solid woods, metal, fiberglass and other materials to realize his simple, yet dynamic furniture, lighting and tabletop designs. With all of Reza’s creations, he seeks to balance delicate physicality and practical functionality. In June 2010 Reza will also unveil his first in-store boutique at Twentieth, accordingly answer to New York’s eponymous Moss design shop. The award winning designer continues to gain international attention with coverage of his 2009 collection featured in The New York Times, Wallpaper*, The New York Daily News, and I.D. among others. His work has been acquired by some of the most discriminating clients ranging from architects such as Gensler and Kieran Timberlake, retail clients such as Equinox Gyms, Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue, to noted designers such designer Tom Ford and Nate Berkus.

Dual handles, thus the name Duetto, instantly set this espresso cup apart. These dual handles create a comfortable hold allowing for an enjoyable espresso drinking experience. The cup nestles into the flat saucer whose base also fits around the upper lip of a second cup for stacking purposes. Each set is hand-poured and glazed and is available in classic gloss white.

Reza’s initial sketch of the concept.

A hand-made ceramic mock up.

CAD Wireframe of design development. We use Rhino 3D throughout our process to fine tune every detail and prepare models for rapid prototyping.

First rapid prototype model to check proportions and functionality. We used this model as a talking point to work with the mold makers. While this prototype achieved the personality and proportions we’d intended, we discovered some kinks we needed to iron out before being able to move forward with production.

Final rapid prototype — ready to be used to make mold for production casting. After discussions with mold makers about the changes we needed to address with the original rapid prototype, this updated model included fine tuned draft angles, scaled up size to account for 12% shrinkage rate during clay firing, as well as a reworked saucer base. As opposed to the original parallel handles, these handles have a slight taper on the inside which allows the cup to be pulled from the mold. The base of the saucer was also redone to provide better balance, easy stacking, and also to make it easier to pull from the mold.

A master mold is made around each rapid prototype parts (one for the cup and one for the saucer).

Duetto’s tapered dual handles took some skilled problem solving to be able to pull out of the mold. Additional mold elements were cast in silicon to get them perfectly precise- a more difficult process but absolutely worth it in the end.

Block and Case ready — used to make first production-ready mold. A block and case allowed us to produce multiple production ready molds.

Finished production mold of the Duetto cup — finally ready for the first pour!

The first Duetto cup is pulled from the mold, cast in stoneware, ready to be glazed in glossy white.

Master builder checking the cup’s shrinkage rate using a special ceramics ruler.

The finished Duetto Cup and Saucer. A satisfying finish to an eight month project and Phase’s first venture into the world of slip-cast ceramics.

Duettos all packaged up and ready for your enjoyment!

Thank you, we hope you enjoyed these snapshots into the Phase world and our process for the Duetto. And thank you Jaime for giving us the opportunity to share this.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.