DesignFoodSustainability

Stylish 3D printed clay storage containers keep food fresh

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While some of us spent months of lockdown binge watching TV, others used the time to come up with innovate solutions to existing problems. Such is the case with Lea Randebrock, a Finnish-German designer from the Royal College of Art in London, who developed a sleek food storage solution using 3D printing and clay materials.

Randebrock was inspired to develop the product line, called The Clay Pantry, to help solve the widespread problem of food waste. Modern consumption patterns have certainly had an impact on the food industry. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, about 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally each year, which is more than enough to feed the millions of hungry or starving people around the world. Of course, a significant portion of this waste happens on an industrial level, but there are still habits that influence food waste on a consumer level.

Lea Randebrock 3D printed clay storage
The Root Stool

The Clay Pantry addresses this reality and offers a compact and stylish solution for extending the lives of fruit and vegetables in the home. As Randebrock writes: “It is a collection of objects tailored to the needs of different vegetable and fruit types. It has been inspired by traditional storing methods and which are applied to modern living scenarios.”

The collection consists of a series of objects constructed using 3D printing and clay materials. Funnily, the designer admits that the prototyping of the products was enabled thanks to a hacked 3D printer, which was all she had access to in lockdown. Among the collection’s pieces is the Root Stool, the Fruit Shelf and the Tempered Box. Each is designed to meet the needs of the produce it holds. For instance, the Root Stool offers a dry and dark storage space for root vegetables, while the Tempered Box is better suited for produce that needs a humid and cool environment.

Lea Randebrock 3D printed clay storage
The Fruit Shelf

Interestingly, part of the clay containers’ function comes from a 3D printed watering jug. That is, the terracotta pieces are designed to be watered, so that the moisture creates a cool environment to help preserve the produce. “All the objects cool through evaporation of water through the porous Terracotta material,” she explains. “The objects act like plants they need to be watered in order to function.”

The 3D printed clay storage objects have all been designed with form in mind as well as function, and each would fit seamlessly into a minimal stylish flat or a plant-filled space.

Lea Randebrock 3D printed clay storage
The Tempered Box and Watering Object (Photos: Lea Randebrock)
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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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