Minimalist design meets hidden technology

Hayes Urban, an industrial designer at argo, saw an opportunity to improve upon the cumbersome and messy immersion brewing process he and his wife used every morning. Leaning into our Think By Making mantra, we knew there had to be a better way to make a great cup of coffee with fewer parts that would work together seamlessly, answer a real need, and last a lifetime. The solution we crafted is simple, delightful, and beautiful.

Two people standing in a kitchen, one of them is using the Stäk coffee maker

Building from the grounds up

We began the design process with dozens of form studies that evolved with countless 3D printed parts, research and discovery in hardware stores, and even at-home slip casting. Each iteration yielded new insights and considerations. In the end, a combination of clear product vision, iterative prototyping, and a few happy accidents produced the perfect solution.

We chose a ceramic that carries the earthy, textural toothiness of stoneware clay while also allowing for the final form to exhibit straight-walled characteristics more typical of a high-fired ceramic.

A minimal black and white detail image of the a Stäk coffee maker

Minimalist design meets hidden technology

The result is a three-piece stackable system that includes a funnel, lid, and carafe. It’s deceptively simple and gives the user full control over the brewing process.

A Stäk coffee maker unstacked

The heart of the Stäk immersion brewer is a check valve comprised of a silicone seal and spring-loaded bearing that retains the water in the funnel during brewing. Only when the funnel is placed upon the carafe’s lid will a pinnacle-shaped rivet press into the bearing, gently releasing the coffee. The concealed double-sided walls of the carafe keeps coffee hot and hands cool.

A person is using Stäk to brew coffee
Two industrial designers working on Stäk
A photoshoot with Stäk

Designed in Austin, made in Portland

Production had to be as simple as our design, which meant using the fewest number of parts, tooling, and materials. We had to choose a supplier that was amenable to small production runs, and also willing to dig into the design process with us side-by-side. Mudshark Studios, in Portland, Oregon, proved the ideal partner—a one-stop shop for developing and producing ideas in clay, utilizing time-honored traditions alongside new technologies.

Day to day, we focus on creating products and experiences for our clients. With Stäk, we took the opportunity to create something for ourselves. It also lends us a unique understanding of what it takes to bring a product to market—the challenges, the skills and hustle required, the sheer delight in realizing a vision—that our clients face. This is an experience we can fold back into those relationships.

Mark Rolston

Founder & Chief Creative Office, argodesign

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