Industrial design student used centuries-old concept for an attractive product

Terracotta container, designed as part of a master’s programme in industrial design at Lund University, uses an old method for keeping food fresh.

One of the best ways to keep fruit and vegetables fresh is not to put them in the refrigerator but to store them in a cool, dry place. For example, potatoes will sprout at warm room temperatures, but at refrigerator temperatures, they convert some starch into sugar and can brown too quickly. However, not everyone has a root cellar in which to store produce. Lund University industrial design student Alexandra Fransson has come up with a solution, writes Springerwise.

Fransson’s DUNSTA is a terracotta container that uses evaporative cooling to create a similar environment to a traditional root cellar but designed for urban living. Terracotta is a porous clay with a high iron content, which turns red when fired. It is a simple, sustainable material that can be used without any additives.

People living in hot, dry places have been using evaporative cooling to keep food fresh for centuries. However, the container DUNSTA brings this concept to the present, using a clean and attractive design to demonstrate that natural methods of food storage can both work, and look modern. A design student has updated the evaporative cooler, creating a stylish kitchen accessory that can reduce food waste.

The DUNSTA is made of a double layer of terracotta. In between the two layers is sand, to which users add water. As the clay is porous, the water evaporates through it, cooling whatever is inside. Once covered with the lid, produce will remain fresh without the need for plastic wraps or containers.

DUNSTA by Alexandra Fransson was presented in Stockholm Design Week as a part of Lund University’s school of industrial design exhibition called Earth to Table. All 19 featured products explore how food production, packaging and transportation can be designed to minimise waste.

The design by Alexandra Fransson allows fruit and vegetables to be kept fresh without the need for electricity. DUNSTA is not currently available for purchase.

Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production. A key characteristic is that design precedes manufacture: the creative act of determining and defining a product’s form and features takes place in advance of the physical act of making a product, which consists purely of repeated, often automated, replication.

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