By Ariel Schwartz
Soma cofounders Mike Del Ponte and Ido Leffler were sitting around talking about water when the thought came to them: Why do we have to settle for poorly designed water filters? Where is the water filter with that sleek, minimalist Apple feel? Del Ponte, the founder of Sparkseed, and Leffler, the founder of Yes to Carrots, think they've created it with Soma, a Jony Ive-inspired water filter that you can help fund on Kickstarter.
Think of water filtration systems and the Brita brand probably comes to mind. It's popular for a reason, but like all products, Brita systems have their downsides--the lids sometimes fall off while you're pouring water, the individual filters have to be thrown away after every use, black flakes of activated carbon can show in water, and--this isn't really Brita's fault--many people are too lazy to replace their filters in a timely manner, rendering the whole contraption useless.
The new filtration system, which they call Soma, features a glass carafe and compostable water filters made out of vegan silk, Malaysian coconut, and PLA food-based plastic. It's about as minimalist as you can get--there isn't even a handle--and we can safely say that's sleeker than Brita's clunky-looking systems.
Del Ponte and Leffler tapped David Beeman, a so-called "water designer" who has worked with companies like Starbucks, Peet's Coffee, and Keurig on water filtration, to create the filters (for more on Beeman's work, check out this story). We haven't had the chance to taste Soma-filtered water, but we're guessing it works well--Beeman is well-known for his filtration skills.
Other user experience-enhancing features, according to Soma: a carafe with contours that perfectly fit hands, a beveled edge to prevent spilling, and--this is our favorite--a subscription service for the filters. Every two months, a new filter is delivered. There is no longer an excuse for leaving dirty filters in your water.
It's hard for us to evaluate Soma's claims without testing the filter, but plenty of people seem to trust that the company will deliver. At the time of writing, Soma had raised $56,373 on Kickstarter, with 36 days left to reach a $100,000 goal. All the $45 early bird special filters are sold out, but other options (including $50 for the carafe and a six-month filter subscription) are still available.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.