Seven Questions for SodaStream Design Honcho Yaron Kopel

A judge has nixed the NYC “soda ban”–due to take effect Tuesday, it would have banned 16-ounce containers of sugary drinks that have more than 25 calories per ounce–but an appeal is in the works, and Mayor Bloomberg isn’t the only one looking to change the way we look at fizzy beverages. SodaStream is shaking up the market with its DIY take (slogan: “If you love the bubbles, set them free”). Founded in 1903 with the introduction of “an apparatus for aerating liquids,” the Israel-based company recently teamed up with Yves Behar and his team at Fuseproject to design the Source, a sleek home soda maker. “The design of Source was a process of elimination,” says Behar, who also worked on the packaging, naming, and graphic design of the compostable soda pods. Yaron Kopel, SodaStream’s chief innovation and design officer, made time during his recent trip to NYC to answer our questions about soda, the Fuseproject collaboration, and what’s next for the company.

First things first, what is your favorite beverage?
SodaStream Ginger Ale.

How do you describe SodaStream to someone who is unfamiliar with it?
SodaStream allows you to make carbonated water–which can become cola, fizzy juice, you name it–from home, in an instant. We have become so accustomed to the everyday consumption of bottled soda that its impact has been rendered mostly invisible. From an environmental perspective, when we consume and toss out plastic soda bottles, we’re doing damage. That plastic ends up forgotten, in landfills, in oceans. With SodaStream, consumers can enjoy their bubbles without any environmental impact. In essence, SodaStream takes what was once a passive, environmentally damaging practice–purchasing and enjoying soda–and has made it simple, active and environmentally sound.

What led you to seek out Yves Behar/Fuseproject, and what did you ask them to do?
Yves is among the finest industrial designers in the world. He is an innovator in sustainable design. Yves was tasked with reducing complexity and waste and creating a simple and beautiful object for the kitchen that keeps with 21st Century values. The result is SodaStream Source. Realizing that world-class design is a prerequisite to securing space on the countertop, SodaStream Source combines outstanding design with best-in-class engineering to improve functionality and ease-of-use. Its refined mechanics make the entire top surface responsive to touch. A new Snap-Lock mechanism makes the process quick, easy and intuitive, while an LED display provides instant visual feedback on the level of carbonation.

How was the process of working with Yves?
Yves and I worked together 24/7 for nine months to bring Source to fruition. It was a collaborative process. We shared a similar vision and joint desire to reduce and refine the user experience. Nothing about Yves’ work is redundant–every design attribute has a purpose. The finished product is a beautifully pared back design delivering the luxury of sparkling water, sodas, and bubbly beverages in one iconic minimal piece for the modern kitchen.

What’s next for SodaStream–any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
SodaStream is always planning new and innovative products to bring to market. We have several new launches in the near future. We are partnering with Samsung to launch in April a new refrigerator that dispenses cold, filtered carbonated water. Later this year we are coming out with a new bottle design and we will be debuting Sodacaps–disposable capsules with perfectly measured, single-serving flavor portions. Also look for new models of the Source. We currently offer a plastic and metal version. In the coming year, we’ll be launching special machines made with wood.

What lessons or experiences from your previous position as founder of Te Casan have you found most applicable/helpful to your work with SodaStream?
The most important lesson I’ve adopted is to consider every small detail when you create something new: no detail is too small. I aim to create products that people will fully fall in love with the moment they experience it. Like SodaStream Source, successful products should infuse energy into a category and leave people wondering how they have lived without it.

What’s the best creative, business, or life advice you’ve received?
Follow your own convictions.