One reason people buy billions of bottles of water: reusable bottles can be a pain to carry around, especially for those who don’t commute in a car and have to squeeze a day’s worth of belongings into a backpack. While some companies are designing collapsible bottles to help solve the problem, a new design flattens the shape of a classic bottle instead to make the best use of space.
“Somewhere along the line there has been a general consensus to design circular-shaped bottles,” says Jesse Leeworthy, director and co-founder at Flank, the Australia-based company that designed the new Memobottle, now raising funds on Kickstarter. “We asked why…while considering the impractical commuting aspects of these bottles, we decided to flip the equation. We decided to create something that is easy to transport but still holds the functional aspects of traditional bottles.”
As flat as a laptop or small paperback, the bottle slides into a bag without bulging. Inspired by office supplies you might carry in your backpack, the dimensions are based on standard paper sizes like A4 and A5. The smallest size holds 750 milliliters of water, a little more than a typical small bottle you might buy at the store.
The thick walls of the bottle make it safer to use than a collapsible bottle, the designers say. “We’ve all heard those horror stories of the collapsible bottles exploding inside backpacks,” Leeworthy says. “This is one critical design factor that we had satisfy.”
The design’s biggest challenge might be the fact that it forces users to re-learn–at least somewhat–the basics of drinking. “We’re not going to lie, the memobottle does take a bit of getting used to,” says Leeworthy. “After years of holding onto circular drink bottles, the brain does require some re-training.” To help, the designers made the bottle slightly over an inch thick, so it’s easy to grasp, and have designed leather and felt sleeves to give a little extra grip.
So far, it seems that people clearly want flat bottles; at the time of writing, the designers had raised about 10 times more than their goal on Kickstarter.