R2B2: A New Spin on Things

December 1st, 2010


In a way, the R2B2 is about getting back to basics. The post-war kitchen was about new gadgets, powered this-and-that, cutting time and making things easier. Today, these ideals have created a cheap throw-away society that many feel a disconnect from. It is unrealistic to think we can transition back to an Amish lifestyle, but do we really need everything to be electric powered?

Christoph Thetard thinks not. The R2B2 is a kitchen island with cooking utilities run completely by pedal-powered rpms. Pedaling at a rate of 400 rpms can generate 350 watts of energy per minute, which is enough to power most any kitchen appliance. The R2B2 is a diploma project for Thetard's degree in product design at the Bauhaus University Weimar. Having apprenticed as a carpenter and studied two terms at design universities in the Netherlands, it is obvious that Thetard has an eye for the beauty of practicality and quality construction. Though his invention may not save that much energy in the wider scheme of things, it will make one more aware of energy use in the kitchen. Of course we could revert to an old fashioned coffee grinder or whisk and chop everything by hand, but if we wanted to do that, then we wouldn't have bought the electric versions in the first place, would we? I think Thetard's concept is an inventive amendment to the notion of the ideal electric, new-fangled high-end kitchen that we have been sold -and bought into- thus far.

For more on the R2B2 kitchen island and Christoph Thetard's other projects, visit his blog. Let's hope some of his ideas go into production soon!

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