A ‘refrigerator’ made of clay

German designer Lea Lorenz designed a modern day version of a clay jug cooler, using evaporative cooling.

Called Tony, the project is a reinterpretation of the clay jug cooler method, which uses evaporative cooling and no electricity. The design consists of stackable clay coolers in three different sizes. Each coolers has a water tank, a food container and a lid. Each cooler thus works separately.

The coolers are made of a porous type of clay called raku, mixed with sand. This clay absorbs water from the tank. As soon as it evaporates on the walls of the food container, it cools the interior to 13 to 17 degrees Celsius, which is the idea temperature for fruits and vegetables that need to stay cool, but not as cold as in an actual refrigerator. According to Lorenz, “It is precisely these foods that make up the majority of avoidable food waste.”

The raku clay used for production comes from the Westerwald region in Germany, which avoids long transport routes and thus emits less CO2. After production, the clay coolers are fired at the lowest possible temperature of 1000 degrees in order to consume a minimum of energy.

Photos: Lea Lorenz


  1. Oliver Heintz says:

    really cool!