the cordless revolution

Tefal’s first kettle product, designed in France, was pretty horrible and bombed in the market.  So, in 1984, their UK subsidiary persuaded Tefal to engage with UK designers for (what was back then, thanks to our consumption of tea) an exclusively UK product. We won the job (partially, we suspect, because of our willingness to exercise our school French!).

Thanks to that, we got to design the world’s first, so called, cordless kettle, which solved a problem most people didn’t even know they had - plugging and unplugging their kettle to fill or pour from it.  Tefal had already cracked some of the issues with a mains connector (mostly around arcing) in a cordless iron they had developed, but 

the brief was insistent on the reuse of the big round heating element from that first product.

So, as we always do, we met the brief and created three concepts, all of which were big and round as a function of the circular element. But we also disregarded the brief and created a fourth, which posited a slimmer more rectangular element and an integrated base, rather than a chunky separate part sitting under the kettle.

Tefal were persuaded to invest in the new element and the Freeline kettle was born — an integrated, slim-line cordless product designed to use less space on the worktop. 

it’s a working relationship that’s produced a whole family of best-selling, inventive products

After Freeline, kettles were never the same again, to the point that cordless kettles are the norm today. Since then, we’ve been involved in many Groupe SEB projects, bringing our unique outlook to everything from toasters, fryers and irons to vacuum cleaners and hairdryers.

It’s a 30 year working relationship that’s produced many best-selling, inventive products —the first coolwall safety fryer, the Avanti toaster, the Aquaspeed iron and award-winning steam generators that take the work out of ironing.