This modular terracotta clay pot keeps food cool without any electricity for refrigeration!

The Terracooler is a modern interpretation of the traditional Zeer pot or pot-in-pot refrigerator, an evaporative cooling refrigeration device that has been used for centuries and is still used today in countries across the globe, such as India and Nigeria.

Zeer pots, or pot-in-pot refrigerators, carry a rich, enduring history. Dating back to as early as 3000BC, Zeer pots have been used in the kitchen as evaporative cooling refrigeration devices across the globe for centuries. Comprised of two clay pots, the porous outer pot is lined with wet sand and surrounds a glazed inner clay pot where food items can be stored for refrigeration.

Requiring no electricity whatsoever, Zeer pots only need a source of water and some dry air to keep produce and other food items cool. Reinterpreting the Zeer pot for modern use, London-based designer Ellie Perry created the Terracooler, a tri-tiered pot-in-pot refrigerator that fits right at home on the kitchen counter.

Like many designers today, Perry felt compelled to design her Terracooler after learning that 10% of household energy is taken up by domestic refrigerators. However, in the UK, where Perry is based, 14 million tons of food waste is accumulated each year. The Terracooler was designed by Perry to make sense of that perplexing ratio.

Inspired by the modern use of Zeer pots in countries like India and Nigeria, Perry devised sketches and models before taking to CNC milling to produce a wooden model of her Terracooler. Using the wooden model as a plaster mold, Perry slipped cast from the mold to create a version made from terracotta clay.

Using the traditional build of pot-in-pot refrigerators, Terracooler is formed from three tapered, double-sided slip cast pieces with built-in handles. The handles stem from both sides of each individual pot and also work as spouts for water to pour through and provide evaporative cooling. With a vertical, modular design, Terracooler fits snugly on any kitchen counter and can be disassembled for access to the food items inside each pot.

Designer: Ellie Perry