Alfred van Elk: ‘It was a nice commission to work on, as Heineken is an ambitious company, which has the expertise and the power to actually realise it. Heineken has a strong, international brand image, and my design fits right in. With the new beer tap, the beer is cooled literally from the barrel to the glass. Therefore the quality of the beer is the best it can be, glass after glass. This is especially important in warmer countries, like Spain and Italy, but Heineken is now also rolling out the system in Holland. The design is modular and can be integrated in a variety of beer columns, and adapted to the identity of Heineken’s other beer brands.
In today’s society there is a need for quality guarantee around high-end food and drink products. This notion of high-end quality has in the design of this beer tap literally been translated into the materials used and the detailing. It was a challenging commission because of the technical elements embedded. Heineken CoolFlow Technology (CFT) focuses on the delivery of draught beer in bars and restaurants. The tap system has been designed to keep the beer cool up to the last millimetres of the tap spout. The new product comprises a patented cooling technology, which requires space. The challenge is then to provide a larger volume, while remaining visually slim, and to be able to connect to a variety of systems.
This product will last from a technical point of view. The same goes for its visual quality: its shape, the materials, and the way it’s been made. I am very glad the end result seems simple. It won’t look dated within two years, but will be able to stand the test of time for decades. I call this visual durability. Entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry are very happy with the new system, as it means the beer will always be nicely cold, and there won’t be any loss of product.
The quality of the result is due to the collaboration with the client. Heineken has a great team of driven people. We were really looking for the best solution together. They allowed me a great deal of freedom. Thanks to a clear briefing I was allowed to go my own way at every stage of development of the project. It was a very pleasant design trajectory as it worked like a funnel. At the start you give each other room to manoeuver, and as the project develops the margins become narrower. This leads to creative solutions. However, every commission has different priorities, and as a designer who delivers a service, I need to be able to respond to that. If you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t take on commissions!’