Donkey Kong is Real... and It Makes Your Coffee

CapsuleKong, the new Nespresso Capsule storage made by Hologramer, is an intuitive design product that can make you smile even at 7 am

Some people may think that design is just a fancy decoration, separated from the functionality of the product, but the story of Hologramer’s CapsuleKong tells something different.

Gareth  Schroder, CEO of Hologramer, and his partner and co-founder Stephen first met through a mutual friend. Years later they run into each other again and decided to work together, both moved by the search of a more exciting and fruitful venture. Nespresso’s CapsuleKong storage is their flagship product and it all started with a great intuition.

The idea

“We were looking for a way to make Coffee Capsule storage fun, engaging and interactive. – Mr. Schroder recalls - We had a prototype of a concept we were developing in the office and I was playing with it on my legs, when I realized the Capsules were flying across the channels from side to side -and hit me that we could create a game level on the wall where the Pods roll from top to bottom!” As a kid in the 80’s, the era of Nintendo platform games, Stephen suddenly recognized the cutouts template as the Donkey Kong’s.

To Gareth it was really the perfect opportunity to create a product which combines culture, design and functionality and to tribute Donkey Kong with the Coffee Capsules forming the flaming Barrels: the Capsule just flow from the top right down to the scale cutouts of the game characters and it is ready to use.

Success comes after trying and trying

Once Stephen and Gareth realized they brought Donkey Kong to life 20 years after with a Capsule Storage in the wall, they started to burst out laughing. “We weren't sure until we made the first prototype that it was the real deal. When that first Coffee Pod rolled down to the bottom… it was a true LOL moment. Wow. High fives, the whole deal. That was the end of that work day.”

Gareth is impressed thinking about how much time it took to perfect the design and finish on the aluminium. CapsuleKong was designed, developed and prototyped in Brisbane, Australia and then finished with the help of a company based in Shenzhen, China.

“I can say we adjusted the game levels numerous times in combination with running countless anodized samples to perfect the Coffee Capsules rolling down at a good speed and without stopping”, Gareth recalls.

The process required a number of cutting, blasting, and then electro finishing processes involved in making the panels. Once the first challenges were passed, the two main panels come through production, the assembly and packaging was very quickly and easily.

Time was also the most expensive investment the Hologramers made since the beginning.  At the production stage the couple opted to have samples air-freighted back and forth with their supplier instead of inspecting face to face with the people making our product, and this costs a lot of money.

“There were moments where we almost trashed the entire project” says Gareth, but thanks to partners, wives and patience, they found the way eventually.

“Our houses are constantly littered with boxes and metal samples floating around, and hanging off the walls. Coffee Pods lying around everywhere, damaged and abused from testing, but still drinkable so that's a bonus I guess”.

Design meets efficiency

"My advice on design is to keep coming back to the true purpose of the product. This in turn bring into focus the end users needs, the environment the product lives in and key functionality of the product."

CapsuleKong is the example of a product both engaging and functional. It does not add any extra ‘features’ or visual ornamentation than required. The game character cutouts including the ‘ladder’ details enhance the virtual reality of interacting with the Donkey Kong arcade experience but they are true scale pixel representations of those characters.

“There is really nothing further we could have added or removed to the design of this product and it is ironic that in this way almost anyone could have designed it” Gareth notices.

To Mr. Schroder “ornamentation is generally to be avoided at all costs unless it enhances the use of the product in some way. When you remove the unnecessary design, it enables the user to engage as perfectly and fully with the activity they are doing or using your product for”.

What’s next?

Gareth and Stephen’s main goal is clear:  “We just want to get our products into peoples lives. We really believe what we have created offers people something of lasting value, excellently designed and made and that ultimately adds to the enjoyment of life”.

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17 Oct, 2013 Great
love it
14 Oct, 2013 JEssica
I like the different designs you make, but I think it's too expensive.