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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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!

Leave a comment