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Born 1983 in Macclesfield, England. Austin is a researcher at the Royal College of Art, Design Interactions department and co-founder of the FOM design awards.

His work takes an experimental approach towards design; often leading to the development of new methodologies that generate alternative perspectives and challenge the status quo.

Our modern society seems to subject us to apocalyptic visions of the future on a daily basis. While we are fascinated with the possibility of our civilization’s breakdown, we often focus our attention on the dramatic and extreme consequences - without thinking about the smaller (and possibly mundane aspects) that make us human, and retain our dignity.

Tea seems to be one aspect of our culture which spans all classes, so important that the English drink more tea than any other beverage. This project explores how an Englishman/woman can retain a small part of their culture during extreme circumstances, imagining novel ways in which a simple cup of tea can be made without the regular amenities.

Global Event

Nuclear war looms as tensions mount between countries heavily affected by climate change and geographically stable places reluctant to halt carbon emissions.

Peter Richards, a retired BNFL nuclear engineer understands the chances of survival and the reality of fallout.

At 64, instead of building a placebo bunker, he invents a way of having a cup of tea during his final moments on this earth.

The fastest tea equipment on earth

These inventions have been designed to boil the water rapidly, brew quickly (without losing flavour) and cool the tea for the perfect drinking temperature.

Thermite Kettle

The Thermite Kettle is a single use kettle. The heating elements within the kettle contain thermite, which is a combination of iron oxide and aluminium powder in a ratio of 8:3. It burns at 2500 degrees. Once lit the resulting exothermic reaction boils the water rapidly, for an extremely fast cup of tea.

Heat-sink Tea Cooler

The heat-sink tea cooler reduces the temperature of hot tea to the correct temperature for quick drinking. The Hot tea is poured into the funnel, it then runs down the heat-sinks and collects in the cup below.

Tea Pot Syringe

A simple device that aids as the transfer between the ‘Thermite Kettle’ and ‘Heat- sink Tea cooler’. The ‘Tea Pot Syringe’ allows boiling water to be extracted from the extremely hot ‘Thermite Kettle,’ reducing the risk of contamination and spillage and allowing the Pre-brewed tea to infuse within the chamber.

Pre-brewed Tea

Pre-brewed tea is an experimental blend of tea. 1/6th of the tealeaves are brewed for 30 seconds and then dried, 1/6th for 1 minute and dried, 1/6th for 1 minute 30 seconds and then dried... and so on until 3 minutes.

The combination of the Pre-brewed teas, allows for a larger amount of tea to be used for a shorter brewing time. – with the same depth of flavours as a 4-minute brew.


Global Event

Years of war and climate change have irreparably damaged the country’s infrastructure. Power, water and gas are no longer supplied

Individual's Story

Eileen Walker, an ex-chemistry teacher invites a few people round for dinner.

As a special treat she uses her "home-made" Sodium Acetate Kettle for a rare (and welcomed) cup of tea.

Sodium Acetate Kettle

Sodium acetate is capable of super-cooling - which means as a liquid its temperature can be lowered below its freezing point without becoming solid. It remembers it should be solid with the addition of a small amount of solid sodium acetate.

The reaction gives off about 60 degrees Celsius of heat, enough for a warm cup of tea, not boiling but as the sodium acetate can be reused and made from vinegar and bicarbonate of soda at home, this technique is open to anyone who may require a portable cup of tea.