This project was done sometime in March. Been lazy.
Group project (3 people) Sophomore year at CMU. Project brief was: a softgood that relates to EATING.
After brainstorming, our group decided to do a bag that helps chefs transport their tools.
PDF link so you can actually read it:
Our research helped us discover that chef have this deep personal bond with their tools. We had this awesome quote where this chef said that he’d rather go through the trouble of lugging his stuff to his Dad’s for Sunday dinner than use someone else’s steak knife. Throughout a chef’s career, he will accumulate his own set of knives, and use them/treasure them. We wanted to help them facilitate this.
We also found that they not only transport knives with them, but carry all sorts of stuff from whisks, peelers, spatulas, to specialty items (if they were a baker: cookie cutters for example), dictionaries, spare underwear/socks, recipe journals, first aid kit. This is an example we found of this: Tools Of The Trade | "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellen… | Flickr
Current solutions are mostly knife rolls which tore easily/weren’t enough to fit all their stuff. Most chefs have resorted to using things like tackle boxes, which aren’t the intended need. Thus we set off to solve this issue.
Early sketches practicing backpack sketching
Two early concepts. One for a disposable, biodegradable post-consumer military ration bag that is half hip flask half lunch box. Another for a collapsible water bladder.
A concept for a chef’s utility belt. Research shows that most chefs only use 1-2 knives concurrently. The cloth is for wiping knives, and acts as a fashion item.
A focus on improving current market solutions: knife rolls. The ones on the market now are too small and not durable enough.
A relatively thought out concept for a messenger bag which carries a cutting board that doubles as structural support. The design is inspired by a stove top, using stove knobs for buckles to open the bag, as well as a use of dining cloth red. However, the concept of storing a cutting board was scrapped as research showed that any board smaller than 15x20 was considered unusable by pro chefs.
Finally moving into the final concept. Suggestions from chefs that they wanted quick access to their most frequently used knives/tools and first aid. Also, modular storage for the chef to customize his own arrangement
Playing with integration of tightening straps so you could pick it up / carry from any side.
We eventually settled on this separatable backpack. The removable component is a knife storage bag which attaches to the main bag via its tightening straps. The straps can also buckle together to allow the knife bag to hang somewhere for easy access.
The component for all miscellaneous tools. We mocked up a bunch of stuff that average chefs would need, and came up with a general layout that can be customized with velcro separators (adjusting the sizes of each compartment or removing them as needed)
Overall ortho. Back padding pattern inspired by grills. Top has a zipper for quick access to first aid. Backpack straps are inspired by clean chef’s sleeves. Colors correspond to dining cloth red and white canvas white of chef clothes and professional black.
Knife palette. Customizable via clips (functionality worked out in the spec packet later in the post). Also sort of a way to display the knives that you are so proud of. Dividers also serve to protect knives from each other.
Final product shots
Our final product was targeted towards aspiring/professional chefs (young males, though not exclusively). Colors were chosen to appeal to the dining industry (described above in sketches section). Comprises two separatable components: knife bag + others. Modular velcro compartments, quick access first aid (indicated with a red zipper). Quick access velcro flap on knife bag for quick access, zip to expose both knife palettes for organization.
Final spec packet to be sent to manufacturer (Except we never did because of the economy)
These images are much too small to be read. The PDF is here:
Here’s the spec for the knife palette. It’s a padded sleeve with a bunch of slots. The clips slide into one of the slots to make compartments for each knife/steel/scissor to protect from each other.
I’ve yet to present this concept to a chef because I’ve been lazy, but hopefully this concept is something that could actually work. Sorry for the long pose. There was so much stuff that we thought about in the final concept that I probably forgot some other stuff. There were more sketches from the two other group members, but I only have mine.
This is one of the most thorough projects I’ve done and I loved it. The feeling of actually solving someone’s needs through a product was really gratifying. Not just some far fetched concept that depends on yet-to-be-invented tech. Hopefully someone actually read all of that and can give me some feedback for the future.