In case you missed it, the New York Times had a nice little interview last week with George Sowden, designer and co-founder of Memphis and now creator of SoftBrew, a pitcher introducing a new way to brew coffee. The interview and the object reveal one of those great moments when a designer's personal obsession results in an innovative solution to a problem. Sowden talks about visiting factories instead of museums as a tourist, and laments the loss of connection between manufacturer and designer. For this reason, with SoftBrew, Sowden closely oversaw production of the coffee maker's two components: a porcelain jug, and a stainless steel filter insert with photo-etched micrsoscopic holes, at porcelain and metal factories in China.
SoftBrew marks the first in a housewares line for Sowden's own design firm, and comes out of a pursuit for that perfect cup of coffee. The Sowden website even contains both a (slightly cheesy) video, and a pdf very thoroughly detailing: the process of using SoftBrew; the best methods for getting a stellar cup of joe (pages on how much coffee to use, cold-brew vs. warm, and more!); and the benefits of brewing coffee "without forcing, pressing, steaming or burning the valuable coffee beans." Considering that obsession often leads to greatness in design, we're ready to try a cup Sowden-style.