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Collapsible tiffin box


In Thailand, the pinto, a multi-tiered tiffin carrier, serves a significant role beyond just transporting home-cooked meals to workplaces or schools. It is also traditionally used to carry food to temples for religious ceremonies and regular temple visits. When offering food to monks during these ceremonies, pintos are ideal because their compartmentalized design allows for a variety of dishes to be neatly and respectfully presented. This practice is deeply embedded in Thai culture, reflecting both religious devotion and the importance of sharing and community. The pinto, therefore, is not only a practical tool for meal transportation but also an integral part of religious and social customs in Thailand, symbolizing the act of giving and the respect for religious practices.

I made the decision to redesign a tiffin box for several reasons:

1. The size of the tiffin box is neither too large nor too small, making it suitable for the given project timeline.

2. In Thailand, where the majority of the population practices Buddhism, tiffin boxes have been traditionally used for carrying and offering food to monks as a way to earn merit. I found this tradition particularly captivating. However, the prevalence of takeaway food has led to a decline in the use of tiffin boxes, and I saw an opportunity to revive and preserve this cultural tradition.

3. Stainless steel is an excellent material choice for tiffin boxes due to its durability, strength, and cost-effectiveness. However, when hot food such as curry is stored in the box, it can become too hot to handle. Additionally, the lack of a leak-proof barrier between each individual box makes transportation more challenging. These aspects presented an opportunity to augment the tiffin box while still maintaining its traditional essence.

During the process of developing ideas, I focused on exploring different shapes and forms for the product. This approach was motivated by the fact that having identical-sized and shaped tiers made it difficult to identify the
food inside each tier. Additionally, I wanted the tiers to be stackable, whether in use or not, and having various shapes facilitated this. So, to explore the possibilities, I utilized Blender to quickly generate 3D models.


Transportation was a crucial factor that drove the need for product improvement. The traditional tiffin’s vertical cylinder shape often made it bulky and difficult to carry. To address this, the tutor suggested drawing inspiration from a supermarket basket, which has a curved side that fits comfortably against the upper legs during transport. This sparked the idea of incorporating organic shapes and drawing from the beliefs of Thai Buddhism, particularly the significance of the four different types of lotus flowers. The lotus flower is not only a symbol of prayer and making merits but also serves as the inspiration for the product’s base shape, resembling
lotus leaves, and the pattern, resembling lotus flowers.


Each individual tiffin box in my design was initially equipped with elastic webbing. This feature served two key functions: firstly, as an insulator for the hand holding the box, providing a comfortable grip without the heat or cold from the food affecting the user, and secondly, to securely wrap around the entire tier for convenient transportation when not in use. However, after some reflection on the design, I recognized that not every piece of webbing was crucial for the tiffin box's functionality. This insight led me to simplify the design, reducing it to just one piece of multipurpose webbing.

Additionally, I considered the potential risks during transportation. The elasticity of the webbing might cause the tiffin box to bounce, which could lead to food spillages. To address this issue, I opted to replace the elastic webbing with a standard webbing or a similar material that is durable and rigid. This alternative would function effectively as a stable handle, reducing the chance of spills while moving and enhancing the tiffin box's overall practicality and ease of use.




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