Home Science

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Everything is so super fast and super processed its perhaps not a surprise that we’re becoming more interested in the process of making from scratch and how things actually work. I’m not saying we’re all going to chuck out our handy gadgets, but you do get the sense that we’ve become so far removed from how thing work we’ve have a renewed interest in doing the science in our own home. It could be distilling your own booze or turning the everyday cup of coffee into a mini experiment; there’s something very lab like about some of the next generation of kitchen tools. These products don’t hide the mechanics, far from it; its all about understanding the process an not hiding it as most household gadgets do.

Pictured above is Francesco Morackini’s Prohibition Kit. The kit harks back to those strange days when booze was banned in the US and distilling was an illicit activity. The kit can be split into separate parts to disguise the real use, and to make it more everyday practical. To be honest, I think I’d be happy to have a go at distilling and use the full kit. I also wouldn’t want to hide it! – its a fascinating piece; rather more interesting to have this displayed together than broken up. And it would make for a great talking point ” yeah….I’ve got a single malt on the go” Just a little more exciting than a cake.

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On a visit last year to the UK importer of Hario and Chemix coffee makers; the sample room looked like a mad scientists laboratory with so many methods of extracting taste out of a humble bean.

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Coffee making is a simple process of filtration right? Its just hidden behind a giant machine in the corner of your kitchen. In Milan this year Ricardo Carneiro from the Design Academy Eindhoven reworked old machine’s in his piece Exploded Rituals. Ricardo looked at the way this daily ritual had been reduced to a disconnected mechanised function. His work shows the full process from coffee bean to cup. Roasting, grinding, steaming each machine explodes the myth behind a simple cup.

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Of course coffee can be a simple everyday ritual without the electrics. I love Craighton Berman Studio’s new slow Coffee Machine. Launched at Chicagoland during ICFF, the project will be looking for funding on Kickstarter later this summer – sign up here for news on to help this project get off the ground!

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Photographs by Grant Hancock

If you’re more of a tea drinker Eliat Projects have reworked the Australian Billy Can with their Urban Billy. The Billy Can is a campfire method of cooking synonymous with exploring the Outback.The Urban Billy brings the same method onto the kitchen table, you can watch as the water reaches boiling point.

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The basic principles of science are not just confined to the kitchen. Technology Will Save Us produces kits that can reconnect you with simple electronics. I haven’t a clue how my headphones work… I probably should… But at least I can learn the basic principles of sound amplification with one of their Speaker kits! Or make music with a DIY Synth Kit!

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Its not just in the home that we can become a part of the science of production. Its the micro brew inside the bar. Or as in the Kernel Brewery the bar inside the Brewery! Each weekend you can pick up your beer from the brewery and peek inside to see where the magic happens. Its very much a workspace and not a real bar.

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I even found Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop that made cheese on the premises  - not so unusual really… except this was in the middle of New York! They of course sold cheese making kits so you can try your hand at home.

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I’d love to have a go at making Mozzarella with this kit from Make Cheese!

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The roastery in the coffee shop and the dough being kneaded in front of the customers. We’ve become so removed from the process of making anything that it now feels like a novelty to see this happening up close and in front of us. It could be argued that simply because we have so many gadgets that make out lives easier we can afford time to kick off that sourdough that takes 2 days; get to grips with home brewing or even distilling! In a drive for convenience retailers and manufacturers took us too far away from the process of making (Boots killed off their Home Brewing in 2009!) and we’re now getting back to the basics. Used well it can be informative and encourage a new creative recreational passion – I’m just hoping that retailers don’t turn into a marketing gimmick.

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