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the alchemy of

essence

ruth m. sumner the alchemy of essence


Ruth Sumner has developed an aesthetic vocabulary that draws freely from cinema, medicine, anatomy, philosophy, neurology, literature and art among other areas. These references are blended into fluid and allusive narrative structures that are articulated through sculpture, prose, film, drawing, photography, and animation. Virtually every avenue is meandered down to realise the narrative thrust of the particluar design topic. This beautiful and comprehensive report covers a snapshot of Sumner’s life and her work from a four month period condensed down by The Alchemy of Essence to be the De Still system. Accompanying this book is a 1:2 scale model of De Still, a press pack containing 100% cotton teatowels with the press release statements typed on, a De Still branded apron, a box of developmental sketches and technical drawings and fourteen presentation panels.

the alchemy of essence


the alchemy of essence


the alchemy of essence


the alchemy of Final design thesis November 2011 e s s e n c e Ruth M. Sumner Supervisors: Simon Fraser & Tim Miller the alchemy of essence


Published in 2011 by R. Sumner A Student of Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington. Project working blog: www.paradisereplugged.wordpress.com All images and text by Ruth Sumner, unless stated otherwise. USID: 300-06-208201-1 First Published 2011 Printed and Bound in New Zealand by Ruth Sumner Ltd., Te Aro, Wellington

Cover image: Plan view, 2011. Photograph of final model.

the alchemy of essence


Contents

1/ 2/

Preface Glossary Introduction

5 9 17

Systems & Processes The Gardener

23 37

seeds & plants

3/

The Chemist

45

thermostat evaporator still head condenser

4/

User Manual

101

ergonomic data

5/

The Chef

107

essential oil dispensary end product usage

Conclusion Bibliography

127 131

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image opposite: The Dunedin was the first refrigerated cargo ship bound for the UK from NZ, in 1882.

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Preface

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preface

preface

This Book is the resulting documentation of all research and design into the final year project for a degree in Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington. As this is the final project, it is therefore the antithesis of everything that has come before. Project brief As the designer, you are the mediator between man and machine; through design you will marry the two in a mutual understanding of culture, value and respect, whilst also revealing new and unexpected relationships. You will define where NZ sits globally with its manufactured products through Design, adding value to the quotidian, by combining motor technology with digestive processes and relating it to the natural health care industry. 6

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The project brief states three defining areas of whom the design must appease, these being: The technology, The commodity, And the brand.

Wellington Drive Motors is the technology. It has exciting prospects toward designing a new refrigeration system (harking on to New Zealand’s initial exporting trade through the refrigerated cargo ships, ref; Paradise Replugged book) The fridges operational system is also the driving force behind the distillation machine, where-by each works off the process of condensation and evaporation, or simply the removal and relocation of heat.


preface

New Zealand Dairy is the commodity. Carrying on with the refrigerated export cargo idea. The Dairy industry plays an undercurrent controversial yet vitally nurturing part in society, of which a serious raft has divorced one from the essence. The process cows go through in making dairy from grass is that of an alchemical fashion, of which is extrapolated into the design. The Body Shop is the brand. There has been an increased uptake in the natural body care market as of recent, and to enable The Body Shop to keep up, a product like De Still (which is about health and beauty from within, through consumption of essences) will carve a new niche in the lucrative wellness market.

image above: The Logos of WDT, The Body Shop and NZ Dairy industry. following page: The glass evaporator of the De Still system.

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Glossary

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glossary

Alchemy - Chemistry

Alchemy “The best type of

alchemist was a quiet, lonely and sincere seeker into the nature of things.” F. Sherwood

Taylor, The Alchemists, Founders of modern Chemistry. (Replika Process, London, 1951) p.1

Aromatherapy “No exter-

nal sense is so intimately connected with the internal sense of perception as that of smell, and none are more capable of receiving such delicate impressions.” J. CH. Sawer. Odorographia, a

natural history of raw materials and drugs used in the perfume industry. (Gurney & Jackson, London. 1892) p.v

Authenticity

“All he’d wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going?” Bladerunner, 1982 Babcock test “To test milk, first stir it from the bottom up, or pour it from pail to pail, but do not churn it. As soon as it is quiet, suck up into the milk pipette more than enough to cover the mark, cap the end with the finger and slowly let 10

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the milk drop out until its upper level agrees with the mark.” from http://www.tumbledownfarm.com/drupal/How_To_Do_Things/ Cattle_and_Dairy

Biology “The knowledge of the structure of organised bodies, and in its literal sense [...] includes the study of the structure both of plants and animals.” Clark, Elementary Anato-

my. (Blackie & Son, London) P.9

Borosilicate

(Glass)

“The apparatus is able to have a greater wall-thickness, and consequently greater mechanical strength, without affecting the thermal strength.” R. Barbour, Glassblowing for Laboratory Technicians. (Pergamon Press, Oxford) p.7

Chemistry “The idea of “chemistry” -a science concerned with all the transformation of one substance into another- had not occurred to anyone, and the word chemia at that time meant simply “alchemy.” F. Sherwood Taylor, The Al-

chemists, Founders of modern Chemistry. (Replika Process, London, 1951) p.195


glossary

Concentrate - Distillation

Concentrate “I made orange juice from concentrate and showed her the trick of squeezing the juice of one real orange into it. It removes the taste of being frozen. She marvelled at this, and I laughed and said, Life is easy. What I meant was, Life is easy with you here, and when you leave, it will be hard again.”

Miranda July

Condense

“The leaves streamed down, trembling in the sun. They were not green, only a few, scattered through the torrent, stood out in single drops of green so bright and pure that it hurt the eyes; the rest were not a colour, but a light, the substance of fire on metal, living sparks without edges. And it looked as if the forest were a spread of light boiling slowly to produce this colour, the green rising in small bubbles, the condensed essence of spring.” Ayn Rand,

The Fountainhead (1943)

Designer “The role of

the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.” Charles & Ray Eames. Digestion “A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digests his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Essay 3, Aphorism 16 On the Genealogy of Morals (1887)

Disconnection “Our addiction to technological appliances further disconnects us, and in that disconnected state we can build factory farms with no windows.” Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself, TEDtalk, 2011

Distillation “Many essen-

tial oils posses the remarkable property that their vapours pass so largely with that of boiling water that they can be extracted in this way (by “distillation”) from vegetable subthe alchemy of essence

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glossary

Domestic - Evaporation

stances, though the essential oils have a boiling point far above that of water.” Furst, I. Perfumes and their preparation. (N.W. Henley: New York, 1892) p.92

Domestic

“when you’re making kitchens the hub of modern houses, you’re bound to want status symbol gadgets that actually work.” Jeff Kennedy,

founder of the rocket espresso machine. Sunday Star Times, September 18, 2011

Efficiency “Our products

are designed as energy saving replacements of traditional inefficient motors used in refrigeration and ventilation.”

Wellington Drive Motors, http://www. wdtl.com/

Entropy “The second law

of thermodynamics, entropy, conceptually demonstrates the nature of chaos. Its basic assumption is that the quantity of energy in the universe remains constant. For example, the temperature of a hot coffee in a cup will soon drop to the temperature of its surroundings. This doesn’t mean

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that the heat has disappeared. Rather it has achieved a balance with its surrounding environment” Kenya Hara, white, p9 Essence “Essence may be taken for the being of any thing, whereby it is what it is. And thus, the real internal, but generally, in substances, unknown constitution of things, whereon their discoverable qualities depend, may be called their essence.” John Locke, An essay concerning Human understanding (1841)

Essential

oil “the name “essential (or volatile) oils” is due to the fact that the volatile vegetable aromatic substances cause a stain on paper similar to that produced by oils and fats; but the stain made by the former disappears spontaneously after some time, while that due to true oils and fats persists.” Furst, I. Perfumes and their

preparation. (N.W. Henley: New York, 1892) p.14

Evaporation

“Precipitate as weather, she appeared from


glossary

Gastronomy - Motorised

somewhere, then evaporated, leaving only memory.” Haruki

Murakami, Dance, Dance, Dance (Kodansha International, Japan, 1988)

Gastronomy “...it concerns

something which is both a science and an art… [F]or gastronomy, like architecture, requires intuition, imagination, enthusiasm, and an immense amount of organisational skill.” Eliasson, O. Milk Skin with

Grass Noma, Time and Space in Nordic Cuisine. (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2010) p.168

Heston

Blumenthal

“These two became the first of a loose network of scientists and academics that have played a part in the restaurant’s development, including several from the flavour and fragrance company Firmenich, which, with its shelves full of stoppered bottles containing every aroma imaginable, has proved an invaluable source of inspiration ever since.” from www.thefatduck.com Laboratory “If anatomy

presupposes a corpse, then psychology presupposes a world of corpses. Personalities, which means personal criticism and analysis, presuppose a whole world laboratory of human psyches waiting to be vivisected. If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink, at last, as human psychology.” D.H. Lawrence

Locavorism “Consumers increasingly are seeking out the flavours of fresh, vineripened foods grown on local farms rather than those trucked to supermarkets from faraway lands.” William Safire, Lo-

cavorism. (NYTimes, 2008)

Matter “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” Albert Einstein

Motorised

“Electricity’s extraordinary versatility as a source of energy means it can the alchemy of essence

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glossary

Neighbourhood Food Swap - Reductionism

be put to an almost limitless set of applications which include transport, heating, lighting, communications, and computation. Electrical power is the backbone of modern industrial society.” Jones, D. Elec-

trical engineering: the backbone of society,

Neighbourhood

food

“This is a giant step forward towards urban sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and getting involved with the community. And what better way to meet other keen gardeners, swap your produce, reduce waste and have a yarn.” Mary Trigger, Sustain-

swap

able Gardening Australia leader.

Porcelain “A natural mate-

rial that is born from fire, is immune to corrosion, as pure as glass, remains unaffected by time and atmospheric conditions and can always be recycled.” http://www.iei-world.org Potager garden “A garden that combines both edible and ornamental plants; a vegetable garden that is utilitarian in 14

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nature but designed with beauty in mind” from: http://homesteadrevival.blogspot.com

Preservation “Every person has a right to risk their own life for the preservation of it.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau Production “From the 1880s two major influences on commercial food production – canning and refrigeration – were introduced.” from:

http://www.teara.govt.nz/

Recolonial “Rather than

undergoing a steadily progressive independence from Britain, New Zealand entered a “recolonial” phase in the 1880s, with the launching of refrigerated cargo ships bearing, by 1941, 500,000 tonnes of meat and dairy products to England: it operated as a long distance market town for London, and emotional as well as financial ties to Britain were tightened for nearly a century.” Emily Perkins. The guardian. 6 July 2002

Reductionism “If you want


glossary

Refrigeration - Value

to understand a complex system, you break it down into its component parts, and when you understand the individual parts, you will be able to understand the complex system.” Robert Sapolsky, Stanford Refrigeration “The definition of refrigeration is the removal and relocation of heat. So if something is to be refrigerated, it is to have heat removed from it.” http://www.refrigerationbasics.com

Ritual “… ritual is an event

upon which its participants depend; theatre is an event which depends on its participants”. Tiwari, R. Space - body - ritual:

performativity in the city. (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2010) P.18

Ruminate “a cow repeatedly chewing and spitting up a cud of grass, or the repetitive process of considering and assessing ideas” Hara, white p18 System “I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should.” Kurt Vonnegut

Terroir “A Plate of milk skin with grass, flowers and herbs. That was one of the dishes on the day’s menu. The garnish came from the field, where the cow that had supplied the milk had walked, grazed and defecated. The plate itself was a small closed ecosystem, which I ate my way through with some surprise (after all it was a rather slimy-looking pancake with some greenery on top). There was no doubt about it: my mouth was exploring every area of the field.” Eliasson, O. Milk Skin with Grass Noma, Time and Space in Nordic Cuisine. (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2010) p.7

Value “Knowledge is a public good and increases in value as the number of people possessing it increases.” John will-

banks vice president of science at creative commons.

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Introduction

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introduction

introduction

De Stijl was about a reduction to the essentials. DE STILL is a domestic distillation kit for extracting out the essence of things through steam distillation; this is realised through the process of evaporation and condensation. This process also holds true for a refrigeration motor, which is a condenser and an evaporator working to remove and relocate heat. The fridge is an important driver in this project as it was the kick-starter for the New Zealand Dairy industry. (Ref. page 4) The process cows go through in making dairy from grass is that of an alchemic fashion. Thus the system of digestion is re articulated into a revised system of processes for distillation.

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The art of distillation comes shrouded in mystery, reserved in ones mind for the laboratory. De Still is the first step in bringing that system of alchemy into the home. The domestic reappointation is an act of locavorism, to get users to grow their own essential oils. The end product has the opportunity, (if you are harvesting from your kitchen garden), to use the essential oils in cooking. The component parts are also distilled down to the essence. The Condenser is sympathetic to the stomach and expressive of its contained volume and the thermostat is a motorised system that processes in a slow human way.

image opposite: De Stijl poster, 1921 previous page: Press Release teatowel.


introduction

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introduction

the design brief Design a domestic appliance that brings the system of alchemy into the home and enables a mutual relationship to bond between the user and the technology involved. This will be a modern accessible means of distilling out the essence of things. The end product (essential oil) will be used in gastronomical culinary creations. The key answer to this project is the generation of value. Value is obtained in the very act of creating something yourself, its all about the blood, the sweat and the tears. Therefore, the Alchemy of Essence is the creation of social value and increased knowledge achieved through design.

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image above: Domestic electric motors and their manual counterparts. image opposite: How Pleasure works, Paul Bloom, Page 142


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1 the alchemy of essence


Systems & Processes

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systems

& processes

the states of matter Solid to liquid to gas is enacted through the addition of heat, the reverse of gas to liquid to solid is enacted through the removal of heat. The area of interest for this project (specifically with relation to the refrigeration system of evaporation and condensation) is the liquid to gas to liquid to gas and so forth cycle. The De Still system encourages and enhances the refrigeration functions of condensation and evaporation through a reciprocal cycle.

previous page: Cow with four stomachs image right: States of matter, solid to liquid to gas.

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systems

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& processes

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& processes

digestion

The driver for the Alchemy of Essence is the motor; being defined as ‘a thing that imparts motion’*; Digestion also works under this definition. Therefore, De Still is a system of processes that is based on the alchemical digestive system of a cow, (the cows four stomach compartments create this magical conversion of grass to milk) as the milk that cows produce is the forbearer of New Zealand, it sustains us economically as well as nutritionally. This nourishment of diary is re articulated through the De Still system ‘digesting’ plants into flavoursome essential oils to be used in culinary creations that sustain nutritionally as well as emotionally. * OED definition.

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The digestive system of a cow 1/ the mouth 2/ the rumen 3/ the reticulum 4/ the mouth again 5/ the omasum 6/ the abomasum 7/ the intestine image above: Mans digestive system image right: Cows digestive system


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systems

& processes

system of distillation

Each

step of the

process from seed to sell:

1/ Seeds 2/ Garden 3/ Sun 4/ Cut 5/ Weigh 6/ Heat 7/ Water 8/ Steam 9/ Biomass 10/ Cool 11/ Condense 12/ Oil 13/ Dispense 14/ Label 15/ Sell image above: chart of the De Still system image right: De Still essential elements breakdown

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systems

& processes

the cyclic system One of the most efficient ways essential oils are extracted from plant material is through steam distillation. Firstly, fresh or dried plants are placed into a vessel that has steam passing through it from a boiling water chamber. The steam vaporises the volatile oils in the plants, carrying the essential oils through to the condenser. The condenser chamber is cooled, turning the steam back into a liquid, which drips down into a collection vessel. The hydrosol (floral waters) are then separated from the essential oils via a Florentine neck. A traditional distillation setup is very spread out, it has hoses everywhere, and the compartmentalised elements are disjointed from one another, as per image opposite. In the De Still set up, there is

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a continuous flow happening. Instead of a Bunsen burner and hoses of chilled water, the temperature is controlled through a fridge motor concept where the evaporator takes away heat and the condenser gives off heat. A Traditional system 1/ heat source (typically a Bunsen burner) 2/ evaporator with plant matter inside 3/ cool source (cold water) 4/ condenser 5/ oil collection vessel De Still system 1/ compressor 2/ heat source 3/ evaporator with plant matter inside 4/ condenser dispenser 5/ cool source (evaporator) 6/ expander the

image right: De Still versus Traditional Distillation set up.


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systems

& processes

Reductionism “If you want to understand a complex system, you break it down into its component parts, and when you understand the individual parts, you will be able to understand the complex system.” -Robert Sapolsky –Stanford.

image right: exploded sketch of the De Still System image far right: De Still hand drawn garamond font poster

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systems

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& processes

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systems

& processes

the whole system “Essence may be taken for the being of anything, whereby it is what it is. And thus, the real internal, but generally, in substances, unknown constitution of things, where on their discoverable qualities depend may be called their essence.� John Locke, 1841, an essay concerning human understanding.

The kit consists of four key components; a borosilicate glass evaporator, a porcelain and steel mesh still head, a hand-blown glass condenser and a porcelain motorised thermostat plate. The materialities of which borrow notions from equally chemistry and domesticity.

image right: photograph of the whole De Still System

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systems

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& processes

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2 the alchemy of essence


the Gardener

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the gardener

the plants The first step in the alchemy of essence system is to plant the seeds from which the plants you will distil oils from will grow. The growing potager garden vogue is a prime precedent for harvesting the plants for your essential oils locally, adding value to the ‘flavour of the region.’

previous page: User Profile, the gardener image right: Seeds to generate the plants from. image far right: Concentration ratio of plants to oil following pages: Details of Seed packets for De Still, Seed packets in rack, Global Essential oil trade for UK

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the gardener

concentrate a two litre volume of plant matter can be distilled down to a mere four millilitre (80 drops) of essential oil.

When distilling a plant of its essential oils, there is a dramatic reduction in volume, and an equal increase in value.

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the gardener

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the gardener

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Image left: The chart opposite cites all of the culinary plants of whom aromas can be preserved through steam distillation. Image right: Ginger Scallops recipe from Heston Blumenthal, using Ginger Essential oil. the alchemy of essence


3 the alchemy of essence


the Chemist

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the thermostat

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the chemist

the thermostat The Thermostat is the base in which the entire De Still system rests upon. It is a temperature controller for both the evaporator and the condenser. The temperature is controlled through a refrigerator motor concept where the evaporation takes away heat (essentially cooling) and the condenser gives off heat (heating the water to then evaporate) Once the heater is at 100 degrees Celsius, the process is in a continuous state of transference and requires very little if any energy input from the grid. The reciprocal nature of the motorised thermostat is an energy efficient way of utilising a motor system further enhancing WDT motors energy efficiency niche.

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Previous pages: User Profile, the chemist, Thermostat working sketches Image right: Thermostat sketches


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the chemist

ceramic manufacture

The thermostat exterior shells are made from Ceramic Porcelain as it acts as an electrical insulator, holds incredible temperature control and has the reassuring tactility of crockery. The Porcelain used is typically composed of a high proportion of Halloysite Kaolin Al2Si2O5(OH)42H2O+SiO2 The world’s leading porcelain manufacturers use halloysite from New Zealand because the purity of the clay and the low iron and Titania content produce exceptional whiteness and translucency to ceramic ware. “Halloysite clays are currently mined in Northland at two sites: Matauri Bay and Mahimahi. About 80,000 cubic metres of the raw clay are mined each year by Imerys Tableware New Zealand Ltd. The clay is excavated and transported to 52

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the treatment facility. At the present rate of production, the current site has another 40 years of production. The clay was formed by hydrothermal alteration and subsequent subtropical weathering of Pliocene/Pleistocene rhyolites. The unprocessed material typically contains 50% halloysite, 50% silica and occasional minor feldspar. Using careful grade controls at the mine site, clay is extracted using open cast quarrying methods and stockpiled into various plant feed grades. Approximately 50% of the plant feed is supplied from each quarry. The clay is processed using crushing, grinding and fine gravity separation techniques.” Previous page: Photograph of Thermostat model Image right: Thermostat exploded sketch


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the chemist

production process

A large metal master mold is used, to form the plaster mold, which in turn is used to make the production moulds. After being formed, the porcelain ‘shells’ are bisque-fired, which helps minimize shrinkage during firing. Next, the pieces are handpainted with an enamel glaze, for strength and lasting beauty. The parts are then fired in a gas and electricity kiln, which is more economical and energy efficient than a periodic kiln; going through these steps, for the following reasons: “…The ware will enter a preheating zone and move through a central firing zone before leaving the kiln via a cooling zone. During the firing process, a variety of reactions takes place. First, carbon-based 54

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impurities burn out, chemical water evolves (at 100 to 200 degrees Celsius), and carbonates and sulphates begin to decompose (at 400 to 700 degrees Celsius). Gases are produced that must escape from the ware. On further heating, some of the minerals break down into other phases, and the flux (feldspar) reacts with the decomposing minerals to form liquid glasses (at 700 to 1,100 degrees Celsius). These glass phases are necessary for shrinking and bonding the grains. After the desired density is achieved (greater than 1,200 degrees Celsius), the ware is cooled, which causes the liquid glass to solidify, thereby forming a strong bond between the remaining crystalline grains. After cooling, the porcelain is complete.”


the chemist

Image right: Collage of firing up the kiln following pages: p.56-57 Photograph of Motor p.58-59 sketch of compressor, and photograph of fridge p.60-61 Photograph of model detail.

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the evaporator

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the chemist

the evaporator The evaporator is essentially a ‘vase’ made from blown glass that contains the water (max 400ml) to be boiled, and thus evaporated into steam. This steam then passes through the still head that is inserted two thirds into the evaporator, sealing up the top opening. The tapered cylindrical form is derived from equally chemistry lab conical flasks, traditional milk bottles and size/ volume efficiency. There is a side inlet for the addition of hydrosol (floral water) during operation, this works on a cyclic basis where the hydrosol flows back from the condenser to continue and enhance the distilling process. The base of the unit is indented much like a wine bottle, aiding in directing the heat from the thermostat table beneath. 64

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“Glass is both the material used and the ideal to be achieved, both ends and means [...] It does not change over time as a function of its content [...] Nor does it shroud the content in mystery.” p42, Baudrillard.

The manufacture of glass is a facinating process, melding art, science and dexterity; from sand granules to a molten state, to a transparently rigid form. The fluid nature of production was a high influencer in the design of the glass forms (both evaporator and condenser).

previous page: Evaporator working sketches Image right: Evaporator sketches following page: Render of Evaporator


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the chemist

Images above: Photographic documentation of glass blowing production, featuring Laboratory equipment glass blower, Grant Franklin. Image right: Technical drawings of evaporator following page: Photograph of glass evaporator

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the still head

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the chemist

the still head The still head is based on a sieve, extruded out to a depth that contains a two litre volume of biomass and is of a proportional relationship to equally average hand span and the evaporator vessel in which it inserts into. The portion of the still head that is not submerged within the evaporator is made of thick ceramic porcelain for insulation and comforting tactility factors. Whilst the extruded ‘sieve’ part of the still head is a stainless steel mesh for permeable qualities. The top of the still head houses the inlet for the condenser through which a big cork stopper seals the opening.

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How to calculate the volume of a sphere: v=4/3*π*radius3 How to calculate the volume of a cylinder: v= π*r2*h

previous page: Still head working sketches Image above: volumetric testing documentation Image right: Still head sketches following pages: Pg. 76-77 Photograph of Stillhead model Pg. 78 Collage of harvesting Pg. 79 Technical drawings of still head Pg. 80-81 Photograph of still head in use


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the chemist

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the condenser

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the chemist

the condenser The condenser was formed through an exploration in the nature of its action: the dripping condensation formed within its cool glass walls. The form also hints toward the nature of perfumery atomiser bottles, and chemistry lab equipment tying the whole kit up in tidy package. The condenser works on the chemistry of when steam is cooled it forms back into a liquid, this is achieved within the condenser through the reciprocal flow in the thermostat beneath it. The thermostat beneath the condenser draws out any residue heat and cycles it back into the heating of the evaporator. The condensed distillate trickles down the condenser to the receptacle where the water 84

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(now hydrosol) is naturally separated from the hydrophobic oil, and the hydrosol flows through the s-curve back into the evaporator to continue the cycle, resulting in highly refined end product.

previous page: Condenser working sketches Image above: Florentine flask from: Furst, I. (1892) Perfumes and their preparation Image right: Condenser sketches following page: Render of Condenser model


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Image above: Dripping experiment documentation still Image right: Condenser technical drawings Following page Condenser working sketches

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the chemist

Image above: Condensate flow diagram Image right: Digestive reference, source unknown. 92

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the chemist

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the chemist

previous page: Condenser mould documentation Image left: Condensation Image above: Traditional Distillation setup with retorts. from: Furst, I. (1892) Perfumes and their preparation Image right: Hand blown Glass condenser model sitting in cooling dip in thermostat plate. following page: Photograph of condenser in De Still system

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4 the alchemy of essence


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care

& use instructions

ergonomic data The proportional values of circumferences in the still head, evaporator and condenser are designed in accordance to the relation to the average hand.

previous pages: pg. 100-101 Care & Use instruction manual pg. 102-103 How to use guide Images right: Ergonomic Hand data, including proportional relationships of product to hand.

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care

& use instructions

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5 the alchemy of essence


the Chef

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the dispensary

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the chef

the dispensary The end product is an essential oil that the customer produces from their own garden to use in future season dishes. Due to the preservation nature of distillation, the fresh aromas of spring herbs can be re-experienced in the chilly depths of winter. The dispenser works in the same fashion as a traditional pipette, for drawing up measured volumes of the end product, to then dispense into awaiting vials. An aesthetic reference to plant biology is touched upon in the final form of the dispenser, to relish in the nature of drawing up liquid from the earth below. previous pages: pg. 107 User Profile: the Chef pg. 108-109 Dispensary Working sketches Images right: The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, 1658 Render of 1ml vial to dispense oil into. Dispensary sketches

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image above: Traditional Pipette usage from: Sawer, J.C. Odorographia Images right: Dispenser in use and photographs of final form. Following page: Photograph of pipette dispensing oil.

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image left: De Still branded apron Images above (clockwise from top) Roll of De Still labels labelling end product vial dispensing oil into recipe dispensing oil into vial writing out labels

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Images left and right: Documentation of using ginger essential oil to season scallops before cooking, as per a recipe by the experimental chef Heston Blumenthal. Only two drops of oil were required to produce an exquisite mouth watering flavour. De Still and enjoy. the alchemy of essence


the chef

The customer The customer is of upmost importance when designing a product, or in this case a service or process or kit. A deeper understanding is gained through a re-enactment of the possible range of end user profiles.

The essential oil industry is primarily used in four over arching industries (as per user value chain chart): Flavour, Personal Care, Pharmaceutical and Industrial Industries, these industries are further divided into sub components. Essential oils are primarily seen in the consumers eyes as an aromatherapy product (personal care sector) and hence marketed and sold as such. Although the majority of plants used in steam distillation are culinary related. 120

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The Chef/ Whom the project is geared towards, someone of the likes of Heston Blumenthal, a gastronomical wizard. The Gardener/ A keen advocate for preserving their labour in 1ml bottles of essence. The Aromatherapist/ (image right) In all of her eccentricities is of course interested in how the oils she uses in her practice are made. The Chemist/ helps them to expand on ideas generated in the laboratory, in the home. The Entrepreneur/ takes on the community challenge much like a pumpkin growing contest, but in this case, producing the best essential oils of the region.


The Aroma therapist

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user value chain

(diagram data source: Essential Oils Incubator, SEDA , 2009) the alchemy of essence


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The end product usage of essential oil is shifting from an aromatherapy niche to culinary based. Bringing greater flavour and aroma to dishes, much like vanilla essence has a long-standing relationship with our pantry. Consuming the essence of plants not only tastes incredible but also makes you better looking; As pure beauty and optimum health come from within. Images left: fijian vanilla essence the alchemy of essence


the alchemy of essence


the Conclusion

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conclusion

conclusion

One must not underestimate the importance of aroma in everyday life. The mouth waters at the smell of cooking and rekindles memories from the waft of a certain flower. De Still is a domestic steam distillation system that enables the budding gastronomical chef to harness the aromas of their garden in a concentrated form, and gain pure value through the process of making something themselves. The design of the De Still system was also a hands on in depth look into the process of designing, through distilling something down to its essence, both literally and figuratively. The Alchemy of Essence is an entrepreneurial toolkit of processes that bridges the gap between people and products, between culture and technology. 128

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“From the point of view of the comparative zoologist, the species Homo sapiens exhibits many of the characteristics one would expect to find in a species which has an active olfactory communication system, namely the presence of dense aggregations of specialised scentproducing apocrine glands, and the recention of tufts of hair around those aggregations. in the social behaviour of modern man there is evidence of an enigmatic umbra surrounding man’s olfactory world. Humans are acutely aware of body odour, removing it with lavish enthusiasm and high frequency.�

Previous page: Bulging thermostat of De Still Image far right: De Still system in the kitchen Following page: Water in the evaporator.


conclusion

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the Bibliography

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bibliography

the bibliography Asensio, O (ed) (2005) Food design. teNeues Publishing Group, NY Barbour, R. (1978) Glass-Blowing for laboratory technicians. Pergamon Pr, Engin. Basset-Mens, C., Ledgard, S., & Carran, A. (2003). First Life Cycle Assessment of Milk Production from New Zealand Dairy Farm Systems. Retrieved from http://anzsee.org/anzsee2005papers/Basset-Mens_LCA_NZ_milk_ production.pdf Belich, J. (2001) Paradise reforged : a history of the New Zealander’s from the 1880s to the year 2000. Penguin Books, NZ. Bellwood, P. (2005). “The Beginnings of Agriculture in Southwest Asia”. First Farmers: the origins of agricultural societies. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Bittman, M. (2007) Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat. Retrieved from http://ted.com Blackman, L. (2008) Body : the key concepts. Berg, New York. Blumenthal, H. (2006) Why embrace science in the kitchen. The new Cookery. Podcast retrieved from http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/Heston-Blumenthal/Cooking-Statement/ Cox. G., Krysa J. (2005) Engineering Culture, introduction to DATA Browser vol.2, New York: Autonomedia. http://www.data-browser.net/02/ Furst, I. (1892) Perfumes and their preparation : with a detailed description of aromatic substances; their nature, tests of purity, and wholesale manufacture. N.W. Henley: NY Gertsakis, Hannon, MacGibbon et al (2011) E-waste in New Zealand: Five years on. Retrieved fromhttp://eday.org.nz/

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Hara, K. (2007) Designing design. Lars Muller Publishers, Japan. Harper, W. & Hall, C. (1976) Dairy Technology and engineering. The AVI Publishing Co. Westport. Hartley, M. & Ingilby, J. (1997) Making cheese and butter. Smith Settle West Yorkshire. Hembry, O. Fonterra Plans third dairy farm in China. NZ Herald, 20th July 2011 Kalab, M. (2010) The Beauty of milk at high magnification. Infocus magazine, issue 18, June 2010 Kenjo, T. (1991) Electric Motors and their controls: an introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York. Leberecht, T. (May 29, 2011) Smart Brands in the Connected Age. Retrieved from http://designmind.frogdesign.com/blog/ Levy, S. (2006) Perfect thing : how the iPod shuffles commerce, culture, and coolness. Simon & Schuster, NY. Lewington, A. (1990) Plants for People. Oxford University Press, New York. McCloy, N. (2008) Made in New Zealand : stories of iconic Kiwi brands. Random House, NZ McMeekan, C. (1964) Grass to milk. Hutcheson, Bowman & Stewart Ltd., Wellington, NZ. Redhead, D. (2004) Electric dreams: designing for the digital age. V&A Publications, London. Roddick, A. (1985) The Body Shop book. MacDonald & Co. London, GB

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Roddick, A. (1991). Body and Soul. Ebury Press, London. Sawer, J.C. Odorographia: a natural history of raw materials and drugs used in the perfume industry including the aromatics used in flavouring ; intended for the use of growers, manufacturers, and consumers. Gurney & Jackson, London. Suskind, P. (1985) Perfume : the story of a murderer. Penguin Books, London. Swift, K. (1997). Flavours and fragrances. Warwick, England. Taylor, R. (2003) Scientific Farm Animal Production, Prentice Hall Thear, K. (1983) home dairying. B.T. Batsford Ltd. London. Toller, S & Dodd, G. (1988) Perfumery : the psychology and biology of fragrance. Chapman & Hall Ltd. London. Van Hinte, E. (2004) Eternally yours : time in design. oio Publishers, London. Warr, E. (1988). From bush-burn to butter. Butterworths, NZ Wozniak, S & Smith, G. (2006) IWoz : computer geek to cult icon. WW Norton and Co. NY. Yangjun, P & Jiaojiao, C. (2007) Muji. Southbank Publishing, London. Yerex, D. (1989) empire of the dairy farmers. NZ dairy exporter books, Petone.

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Ruth Sumner grew up in New Zealand with a paintbrush in hand. She has worked at a button factory, a veterinary clinic, a physiotherapy clinic, a natural health clinic, and as a manufacturer of remedies at Weleda. She studied Fine Arts in a retired monk monastery, then went on to study Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington. She is an emerging designer who focuses on humanist design, created by a fine blend of science, art and passion.

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the alchemy of essence


the alchemy of essence


The Alchemy of Essence