Martin Kastner's Aviary-style Porthole teapot for sale
Wed Aug 22 2012
Photograph: Damien Thompson
Last year I spent a day with serviceware designer Martin Kastner (Crucial Detail) as he walked me through his process of designing pieces for Aviary. At the time, and subsequently when I visited the bar after its opening, I was particularly taken with a piece he'd named The Porthole. The flattened glass teapot twists open by loosening the center screw, allowing the bartender to fill the vessel with a variety of infusion ingredients like citrus rinds and herbal leaves. It's one of the most gorgeous serving pieces I've ever seen, and apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so (rumor has it some folks tried to take the Porthole to go after a night at Aviary).
While Kastner has an online shop full of serving pieces you'll recognize from Alinea, the Porthole is not one of them. The small-batch production costs several hundred dollars per piece. So what did Kastner do to come up with a solution to lower the price and transition the production to make larger quantities of Portholes? What every other 21st-century entrepreneur is doing: He launched a Kickstarter. Check out the explanation and video for various ways you can use the Porthole should you donate and place an order. Note that he's far exceeded his goal (by over $300,000!), and you still have 13 days to get your hands on one of these beauties. Just be sure to invite me over for a cocktail when yours arrives.