Trustworthy Tray #1 & #2

Since I adore my morning coffee moment I discovered another problem with it. The tray. Once I have placed my coffee cup and milk jar onto the tray to take them from the kitchen into the living room both slid around the glossy melamine surface, risking to spill their contents and fall off the tray. Why do you create a tray that is not safe to transport things on when this is the sole purpose of a tray?

This made me search for ways to create a surface that would do the opposite, that would be stable. I found that there is a coating called non-slip surface achieved with different techniques put onto trays made out of birch veneer with a top and bottom layer of melamine. Either such a surface can be a liquid brushed onto the tray and then heated to solidify and get non-slip, or an already non-slip sheet can be cut out and pressed onto the tray.

Sample tray with non-slip coating. It makes the color of the tray a bit foggy.
Collages I made to try out the scale and shapes of the trays (without non-slip).

Then the manufacturer discontinued their non-slip coating because they wanted to developed it further. When I called back six months later they had not gotten any further, which made me look into other materials that naturally are non-slip. 🙂

Prototyping shapes in cardboard.
Prototyping shapes and sizes for different use.
Three shapes I liked the most.
Samples I made from cork sheets which I cut out and glued together to ideate the different shapes and how they felt in the hand.

What I have learnt from my readings is that cork has its own natural binder, resin, which is released when heated. Put under pressure the cork granulates can then be shaped. Cork’s distinct color comes from the heating process. If no other unnatural substances are added, the cork can be repurposed, recycled and it is biodegradable. Also, once you have cut down the cork barque from its tree it grows back naturally, which makes cork an environmentally friendly material this way too.

The cork samples above I sent in with my design school application. I did a short demonstration on how trays mostly don’t work and how non-slip and cork actually do. 😉

To be continued… 🙂

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