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design process case study 1:  panda pan 

6 months / 2016

Pouring Problem.jpg

The problem

Draining a pot using its lid is not comfortable. It takes too much time and is not secure enough since the rising steam is too hot.

panda pan in use.jpg

The solution

A pot that lets you to grab both its lid and its handles at the same time.

1. Ethnography

I took videos of myself to observe how I use the lid to drain water. I tried several positions before concluding that this doesn't work well at all with available products.

II asked my friends and family about how they use the lid. To my surprise, some of them don't even have a corander.


Even those who have one often don't use it, but prefer to deal with the heat and the danger instead. It's "quicker" and "easier". 

Pouring Problem gray 3.jpg

2. Research 

I went to local department stores to find out what types and sizes of pot there are.

I also did online research and noticed that none of the existing products fucus on istinctive usage of the lid.


People use the lid since they are used to it, even though they think it's not practical. Some of the existing products are trying to make it easier to drain water with the lid, but the usage is not instinctive.


Creat a cooking pot that allows the user to drain water safely and without disturbing the natural flow of cooking.

3. Ideation

My first idea for an intuitive usage of the lid: I took one chopstick and attached it to the lid (see the picture).

I observed that I was naturally trying to slide the lid by pushing the chopstick forward, opening the lid on my side.

4. Sketch

I drew sketches as a means to take notes of what I was thinking rather than to verify the visual impact of the design.

5. Mock-ups

In parallel to the sketches, I made a lot of prototypes out of cardboard, and some by way of vacuum forming and 3D printing. This way, you can evaluate more aspects than you could by just doing sketches and 3D modeling. Having a hands-on model also made it easier to communicate with the manufacturer who gave me technical advice.

For me, this is the most exciting stage of design process, since I sometimes come upon an idea accidentally.

Mock-Ups 2.jpg

6. 3D-modeling

The form of the lid should meet both aesthetic and functional criteria. I was very happy that I used to pay attention in the 3D-modeling class at my school.

It helped me to create a matching pan to the pot in a rapid an systematic way.

3D Modeling 2.jpg

7. Final mock-up

At my school there was an elaborate workshop with every tool and machine imaginable to make realistic mock-ups.

My methods of choice were PS thermoforming (body and lid) and 3D printing (handles). It requires meticulously calculated 3D modeling, an understanding of mock-up making and the material, a lot of sanding, a good painting technique, and most of all, dedication and patience.

Panda Pan

yellow green.jpg

The profile on the lid prevents it from slipping away and tells the user when it's properly closed. 

It also strengthens the structure of the lid.


The inwardly arched form of the lid is modeled to accommodate the sliding movement of the hands. 

The condensation water gathers in the middle of the lid, assuring that the food in the pot stay moist and preventing the water from dripping out when the lid is opened.


The rim of the pot is formed so that you can easily pour water out while keeping control of its flow.

panda pan in use.jpg
panda pan.jpg
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