If there’s one thing that the world seemingly doesn’t need any more of, it’s another reusable water bottle design. Between the combination of modular concepts that unscrew for easier cleaning to those that include an embedded lemon juicer, the human race has never had as many options for getting water into a mouth as they do now. Of course, thanks to Kickstarter, we have yet another water bottle design to add to this list…however this one eschews running with the latest and greatest in modern designs and seeks to redesign a more traditional…and primal design.
The NeoGourd, which was designed by young entrepreneur Joseph Derris Polite, was inspired partly by the many history classes he had been taking in college and consistently reading about gourds as being a form of drinking vessel.
Already successfully funded on Kickstarter, we caught up with Joseph to ask more questions and get some behind the scenes info into designing a “new-old” water bottle.
SS: This is clearly not another run-of-the-mill Nalgene-esque plastic water bottle…and you’re not a professional product designer by trade. So what’s the story behind the NeoGourd Joseph and where did it come from?
JP: I initially came up with the NeoGourd when I was quite a bit younger. However more recently I was hanging with some of my college buddies in my dorm here in Hawaii and on comes a TV commercial about a cylindrical stainless steel water bottle that cost around $20. I literally said out-loud that I could design something way better than that. Thanks to those words, my friends – who never let me get away with anything – challenged me to prove it. After sketching on it, digitizing it, placing it in a ceramic medium and finally crafting it into a metal prototype, the NeoGourd, my childish dream, was finally here for all to enjoy.
SS: Construction-wise, any key innovations?
JP: We used a unique molding process that allows the bottle to be formed out of stainless steel – which from a material standpoint is critical for what we wanted in keeping both a sturdy and ergonomic design.
SS: What was the biggest challenge in developing the Neogourd?
JP: The biggest challenge was definitely finding a manufacturer that would attempt to make the mold for me. In fact, out of all of the manufacturers willing to do OEM, only one took a chance on attempting to do the design with me at the time.
SS: What about the inspiration behind the Neogourd?
JP: The design is inspired from my ancient history stories combined with genres of anime, martial arts and ancient cultures. When I was a kid I distinctly remember watching Jackie Chan in Drunken Master drinking from a gourd. There were also several references of similar gourd designs from around the world in my ancient history studies courses in college.
SS: Can you share details regarding the software, machining/prototyping tools, what kinds of sketches/prototypes/mockups were made, what kinds of challenges you faced?
JP: I used AutoCAD to do digital drawing and many of the electronic and print sketches were principally influenced by those drawings. As a first time product designer, many of the challenges I faced were in the ability to fabricate a physical product as opposed to the creation of the mockups. Although thanks to my manufacturers, either way I was able to get my bottles made.
The NeoGourd water bottle starts at $18 over on Kickstarter.