Saturday, 8 December 2012

Vernacular Design, Climate, Culture and Teapots

The humble teapot is a worthy example of what I call "vernacular design". You would have heard of vernacular architecture, which is building design that has evolved over time based on local culture, climate and resources, but vernacular design is a broader concept that includes the design of clothing, furniture, equipment and teapots etc.

Chinese iron, brown betty and stainless steel teapots

Teapots date back to the Yuan Dynasty and 14th century China – they were initially made of iron but over time they became fashioned from clay and then from porcelain. The shape of the teapot has changed very little over time, the key components being a solid base, good pouring spout, high-insulating material, and a well-fitting lid to allow the tea and water to be easily added. The “brown betty”, the iconic English teapot, optimises great vernacular and timeless design for me.