Contributor: Ben Flannaghan

Ben Flannaghan
Ben graduated with a First Class Honours from Loughborough University in 2011. During his placement year he worked at the renowned Moscow design house, Art Lebedev. He also developed a new concept in footwear, The Zoo Shoe, which allows the wearer to zip on a range of flexible designer uppers to the sole. Ben was awarded an Enterprise Bursary for his innovation to help with the patenting costs. During our annual visits to the degree shows, we were fascinated by Ben's off the wall approach to design. He doesn't just design a product, he scrutinises the whole experience and re-invents it.
After his time in Moscow he found it strange that here in England, supposedly a tea loving nation, the making and drinking of tea is such a lacklustre experience. After all, ordering a coffee from the best high street cafes is all about choice, grinding, aroma and frothiness, with the equipment and preparation deliberately elaborate to entice and caress the consumer. Drinking tea, on the other hand, is generally a mundane affair; a dribbling pot is plonked unceremoniously on the table and you're good to go. At Ben's degree show, we were drawn to an unidentifiable object that after much deliberation, we all decided was very beautiful, but we didn't have a clue what it was, or what it did. Once we caught up with Ben, we were transported to a fanciful world where having a cup of tea became an ethereal experience of grinding pressed leaf tea bricks with a pestle and mortar, blending and selecting infusing time and temperature with quirky Cleudo type characters around an inlaid radial dial. Having Ben on our design team has introduced a freshness of style that is not limited by preconceptions or governed by practicality. Working with the best cabinet makers around and with experienced designers that know everything about working with wood, Ben now plays a pivotal role in the creation of our new ranges. It's a mouth watering journey which we hope will lead to deVOL being recognised as a design house and not just another kitchen company.

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