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Renowned industrial designer Lea Lorenz introduces TONY®, a contemporary reinterpretation of traditional clay jug coolers. Departing from its ancestral roots, TONY® serves as a portable refrigerator and food container powered by innovative evaporative cooling. Crafted from porous raku clay, the material effortlessly absorbs water from a reservoir, utilizing evaporation to naturally lower the interior temperature to an optimal range of 13°C-17°C, all without the need for electricity. Lorenz underscores the significance of this design, stating, “It creates an ideal storage environment for foods that, on the one hand, a fridge is too cold for and that, on the other hand, spoil more quickly at room temperature.”
The designer emphasizes the importance of proper food storage, sharing food safety insights. Fruits and vegetables, sensitive to cold, risk flavor loss and hinder post-ripening processes when stored in excessively low temperatures. Incorrect storage practices contribute to unnecessary spoilage and subsequent avoidable waste. TONY® addresses these concerns, offering an alternative that extends the freshness of selected fruits and vegetables beyond conventional refrigeration or countertop storage.
TONY® boasts a multi-layered raku clay design with a focus on evaporative cooling efficiency. Lorenz conducted meticulous experiments with various clay types and mixtures, determining that a Raku clay shell optimally absorbs water from the tank, ensuring an efficient cooling effect. Each TONY® container comprises distinct sections—a water tank, a food container, and a lid—operating independently with dedicated water supplies. The outer wall’s surface undergoes subtractive machining to enhance water evaporation, facilitating a rapid temperature drop inside. Recognizing the impact of sunlight and nearby heat sources, Lorenz includes a wooden stand, enabling users to move TONY® and regulate its environment.
Lorenz champions sustainability throughout TONY®’s lifecycle. The Raku clay is responsibly sourced from Germany’s Westerwald region, minimizing transport emissions. The ceramics used in production consist of environmentally friendly, inorganic substances. Fired at a minimal temperature of 1000 °C, the clay coolers boast low energy consumption. Lorenz emphasizes TONY®’s durability, designed for long-term use, and promotes recyclability. At the end of its life cycle, TONY® can be recycled by grinding into fireclay, contributing to the creation of new coolers—an embodiment of sustainability in everyday objects.
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