What is a Saturn Glass?
Saturn Glasses are a family of stemless barware with ledges that keep them from spilling if they accidentally get knocked over. Tipping the glass also lets you spin your drink and helps it aerate. We started out by making and selling the first version of our spill-safe Saturn Wine Glasses about a year and a half ago, but we’re ready to add a new vessel to the Saturn family, the Saturn Rocks Glass, as well as a higher quality AND more affordable version of the Saturn Wine Glass.
The Original Saturn Glass
The new Saturn Rocks Glass!
The Saturn Rocks Glass has the same spill-stopping and aerating geometry, but it's thicker on all sides, which means that it can handle big balls of ice getting thrown into it and rowdy parties.
Hi, we're SUPERDUPERSTUDIO, a design/manufacturing collaboration between Christopher Yamane and Matthew Johnson. We make glassware and lighting that embrace both art and design. We develop and prototype all of our products, make things in-house, and collaborate with craftsmen to bring our ideas to YOU.
How our glass is made:
Each glass is blown with expert craftsmanship and care, making them surprisingly light and satisfying to drink from. To prepare the material for each cup, the molten glass is shaped by hand before being blown into a mold by our friends in the Czech Republic. Each glass is then annealed overnight (a process which cools the glass slowly to relieve material stresses), cut, and polished by hand.
What makes v2 higher quality?
One big difference is that, while we still prototype everything ourselves in California, the final Saturn Glasses are now crafted by masters in the Czech Republic. We've also made a lot of small changes to our production and distribution processes to help with price and fulfillment, but here are the main differences you probably care about:
- The new family of Saturn Glasses are made from Swedish, lead-free crystal! The old ones were soda-lime glass. Crystal is stronger than soda-lime, so it can be blown thinner without being in danger of breaking. It also has a higher index of refraction which gives it more "sparkle." Crystal also sounds clearer. You may not think of the sound of glassware very often, but the tone they make when you clink them together or rub the lip is more pure than soda lime.
- Dishwasher safe! The old ones had to be hand washed. :(
- The glass distribution feels better. Much of the craftsmanship of glassware is in how the material is distributed inside the shape. Just because you have high quality materials doesn't mean you can make something refined out of it. V2 Saturn Glasses are a little bit thicker at the bottom, and gradually get thinner all the way up until the lip. This kind of distribution helps the glass feel delicate while remaining strong and leaves the lip thin so it feels crisp and refreshing when it touches yours.
Designing the Saturn Glass:
The idea for the Saturn Glass started as an accident. Our co-founder, Chris Yamane (featured in the video), has been trained in traditional Italian glassblowing and has been working with the medium for about 10 years. He was practicing a technique for making goblet lids, and tried to make a stemmed glass with a more literal Saturn ring around it. He accidentally broke the stem off and discovered that the ring kept it from toppling over.
That was almost 6 years ago. Chris's deep knowledge of the craft, combined with Matt’s fresh perspective as a newcomer to the material, allowed us to develop this playful line of glassware that is a mix of traditional glassworking and contemporary design.
Matt and Chris released the first version of the refined Saturn Glass about a year and a half ago and have been making them in Oakland, California, but the shops here are not as conducive to this kind of glassblowing production as they could be. We’ve been working to get our logistics in line, our processes more efficient, and collaborating with masters in the Czech Republic who's shops are set up perfectly for this kind of work, so that we can offer higher quality, and more affordable glass. That’s where you come in!
Our friends in the Czech Republic are masters of the Scandinavian mold-blowing style. They have a larger furnace, more efficient setup, and more expert glassmakers, but we need your help to kick us off.
We also need to give the Saturn Rocks Glass one last bit of consideration to dial in the geometry. Don’t worry, it won’t be changing much and it will only get better!
Our Plan and Timeline:
- Today (Late May, 2016) - We have samples of the red and white wine glasses in hand and have blown working prototypes of the rocks glass Oakland.
- Mid June, 2016 - We put our final touches on the rocks glass and send the engineering drawings and final prototypes to the Czech Republic.
- Late June, 2016 - The campaign ends! If we’re successfully funded, we’ll send a survey to gather your shipping information and choice of glassware. Now sit back and relax while we get your glasses blown.
- Late August - We have every intention of shipping your glasses in late August, and, if we’re lucky, maybe earlier. Our timeline is very padded, but if we get an unexpected flood of pledges (which would be awesome!), it may take us a little longer to send glasses to those who pledged later in the campaign. The glasses are made in batches, so we'll start shipping in the order the pledges were received.
Reward Fulfillment and Shipping:
When the campaign ends, if you’re one of our backers, you’ll receive a survey where we’ll ask you to provide us with shipping information and which variations of the Saturn Glasses you want.
We work with a fulfillment company to make sure that all our orders are filled quickly, accurately, and affordably. If all goes well, you'll be receiving your glasses by late August.
Shipping costs are not included in the base pledge prices. Shipping starts at $7 per glass within the U.S. and $12 per glass for international but gets a lot cheaper as you order more. If you get 16 glasses, the shipping costs go down to $2.38 per glass in the U.S. and $4.38 per glass international. Backers outside the U.S. may have to pay some import duty when shipments enter their country.
Risks and challenges
We've been successfully designing, making, and distributing our glassware for about a year and a half now, so we have some experience with the whole process of filling orders, and providing service that helps our customers feel happy with their purchases. We've definitely had some unexpected issues since we first started, but we've always dealt with, and learned from them, so by now, hopefully most of the kinks are worked out. If we're lucky, we won't have any unforeseen issues, but if we do, we'll try to communicate them with our backers as directly as possible.
Supply Chain Risks:
Part of making the Saturn Glasses a better and more affordable family of products is working with a glass house who has equipment and craftsmen who are better suited than we are to making larger volumes of mold-blown glass quickly. Because each glass is no longer made down the street, it also means that we have to relinquish some control. Our craftsmen could miss a deadline, a freight delivery could get delayed, a batch might not pass quality inspection, or furnace could break. Our expected delivery dates are very conservative, but things outside our control could still cause delays.
If everything goes well, we'll have a bunch of pre-orders! We do the best we can to predict demand, and give as accurate a ship date as possible, but we're a small company so we don't have sophisticated projections. The nature of crowd-funded projects also means that we can’t guarantee a ship date for everyone, because we don't know how many orders we'll get. The late August estimated delivery date is very conservative, but we do want to set reasonable expectations because these are not factory-made, mass produced goods. If we get way more orders than expected (which we would be super great!), those who backed our project toward the end of the campaign could see their orders filled a little slower than those at the beginning. As always, we'll try to communicate as openly as possible!
Design Risks for the Saturn Rocks Glass:
The shape of the Saturn Rocks Glass still needs a few final tweaks. We've already blown totally functioning prototypes ourselves (which are featured in the video), but we'd like to refine the form just a little bit. We don't expect the changes in shape to be huge. Don't worry, it'll only get better! The process of making them is exactly the same as the Saturn Wine Glasses so it's highly unlikely that it will need any major overhauls.
The Universe is sometimes mean. It could destroy a shipment, light our studio on fire, or we may experience first contact (which could be awesome or not). We'll do everything we can to deliver what we promise on time and communicate openly about what's going on, good news or bad!
- (30 days)