Matlo, based on the traditional water cooler called matka, by Doshi Levien

“Most Indian households use a rounded terracotta drinking water vessel — a matlo — that cools water to 14° below ambient temperature without refrigeration. Our matlo is a slip-cast version which has evolved to incorporate filtration and could be batch-produced from a mould. We propose it as an environmentally sound alternative to bottled water and electric coolers.” Via indianbydesign, photo via dezeen.

This evolved version of the traditional matlo is a prototype by designers Doshi Levien. It’s not in production yet, but when it is I’d like to have one. It gives water a better taste, prevents all that horrifying plastic waste, and also means you’re not drinking all those pseudo-estrogen chemicals that leach into water from plastic containers. Until then, does anyone know if it is possible to buy a traditional matlo in North America? If so, where? It seems as if the term “matlo” is not that universal. Vancouver has a South Asian population of 300,000 yet I can’t find one of these, which makes me think they haven’t been imported here.

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14 Responses to “Matlo, based on the traditional water cooler called matka, by Doshi Levien”

  1. iinekore Says:

    that is brilliant. please keep us posted if/when it is in production, i too, would sign up for one in a heartbeat.

  2. Carl Williamson Says:

    That’s such a simple and beautiful design. I haven’t ever seen a Matlo online, but there definitely are somewhat similar terra cotta water filters / dispensers available online.

  3. LB Says:

    Thanks, Carl – that filter looks interesting. One of the good features of the original matlo is that it doesn’t over-purify the water and remove nutrients. People seem to want everything removed from their water now, which means you’re losing good minerals along with the bad. I don’t know if the Doshi Levien matlo removes everything or not – I’m trying to find out.

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Do be sure to do a follow-up on this story if you get more information about matlos!

  5. craigie Says:

    Pedlars in the uk have a neat carafe that cools drinking water, no filter:

  6. micron water filters Says:

    You cannot serve God and Mammon.

  7. LB Says:

    Oh really? Drat.

  8. Anon Says:

    The original is called “matka”

  9. LB Says:

    Thank you! That explains why I was unable to find anything online. I just checked and immediately found this. Thanks again.

  10. Anon Says:

    Come to think of it I’m wondering if this designer version actually works as well as the original. The original matka design facilitates the seeping of water through its pores where evaporation achieves the desired cooling. This version appears to have some sort of glossy coating. I wonder if that hinders the natural cooling processes by obstructing the pores. Any idea?

  11. LB Says:

    I was thinking the same thing! I don’t have an answer. I’ll ask Indian By Design.

  12. TMF Says:

    Any news on the availability of this product?

  13. kelly Says:

    It’s definitely not the same but I saw this at SIDIM…
    at least it puts the minerals back in.

  14. LB Says:

    That’s interesting – my French is too rusty to know which minerals are being put back in, but it seems clever. As for the aesthetics, the egg is such a strange choice as a visual reference – I’m not sure how it mixes with the water concept! The black one has a spider or Darth Vader quality, but I find even the white one a bit ominous. If you find any more please post them!

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