Author: isabelmeierkoll




poza= cool, to cool (swahili)






Scaling up the method of flowerpot cooling to offer people an independent cooling system for storing food and keeping it fresh. The size of the fridge should provide enough room to store an upstanding waterbottle and at least 1kg of vegetables or fruits…



Making of OCTA POZA


OCTA POZA consists of two clay buckets with a octagonshaped bottum. Unglazed clay in his characteristics has the ability to store moisture and is a natural product. The clay that was picked for OCTA POZA has a high percentage of grog so it can store even more humidity. Once burned, it will maintain it´s bright colour to ensure the best reflection of sunlight.

The material for the required contruction forms had to be solid to keep the clay in shape and preferably waterresistant. Nevertheless the choice was to work with wood to keep the construction convenient. To avoid swelling, the wooden planks of the bottum got coverd with plastic. For the side parts coated mdf planks did the job.


To create a quite even surface of the vessels and to approve a constant thickness of the material, the choice for OCTA POZA´s building method was the “slab technique”.

(Detailed basic instructions for this practice under: )

After making sure that all air was lashed out in the clay, 16 pieces for the walls and 4 more for the baseplate were rolled out into the prepared screen of 2 cm thickness. The parts were carefully cutted out and placed aside for drying until they had reached a leatherlike texture which made the further handling a lot easier. When finally all parts were ready to be attached to each other, a mix of clay and water worked as “glue”  for the joint faces. To ensure more stability to the former cracks,  coils of clay were placed on each of them and firmly connected to the layers aside. The wooden profiles which got more and more closed around the vessel during the process, helped to keep the parts in position. But as soon as the the work was done, they had to be removed quickly to avoid an unbalanced drying process.










How to use OCTA POZA


The two octagon shaped clay buckets get stacked into each other. For the use, the gap between the buckets is filled up with sand that occasionally must be watered to keep the cooling effect running. The inner bucketrim stands out to avoid that sand falls inside the bucket which stores the groceries. To increase the cooling effect, the whole system gets finally covered with a wet cotton cloth that still guarantees enough ventilation to avoid mold formation. OCTA POZA´s efficiency can be elevated if it´s habitat is shady and uncongested. The measurements of the object provide enough room to store an upstanding waterbottle and at least 1kg of vegetables.










Realization in Kenia- a benefit cycle












Visions for OCTA POZA

This natural fridge is designed as a DIY product. The whole process of manufacturing is determined to be copied easily with simple tools that, except for the burning procedure, allows an independent production. OCTA POZA could easily be integrated in any community. The possibility of storing food and keeping it cool is not only interesting for parts in the world which are cut off of electricity and seek for an independent solution. Also the western lifestyle could profit by this sustainable method. All it takes is peolpe who take care of it. An imaginable scenario for OCTA POZA could for example likewise be the installation in an allotment garden. Sited next to a crossing where alot of gardeners pass, this could be a set up, where leftovers from BBQs, gardenparties or plain exessive harvest crops are placed at the disposal for others to use.




Fridges without electricity


Fridges are items that most people of the western hemisphere take for granted  and wouldn´t want to miss in their daily lifes. Understandable since this invention is a big help when it comes to keep groceries fresh and durable. However most people of the world need to spare them due to electricity reasons, missing structures or simply because they are not affordable. In order to that, a lot of food gets wasted and thrown away before it has the chance to feed the hungry.


But there are exsisting methods to keep edibles stored fresh and cool that work completely independent and without electricity!


Earth Cellar


Wet fabric technique


Flower Pot Cooling



In the case of Kibera the first solution wouldn´t be possible. The earth in the ground is for wide parts contaminated and the soil too hard and dry for digging without the help of machines…also there is a serious lack of space…The second example involves a serious danger to attract the mosquito which is responible for spreading the dengue fever… so it´s the Flower Pot Cooling that deserves a closer examination…


An issue: DENGUE FEVER!!!

Since the Flower Pot cooling system is still operating with water, even if it´s not lentic and just causes more or less the same situation that comes with moist soil and watering plants, it can´t hurt to give it a second thought…

Luckely nature provides us with a lot of herbs and plants that are not so attractive amongst mosquitos.

Next to Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thym, Lemongrass, Catnip, Basil, Garlic, Rosemary and Marigoldit´s the indish Neem tree that is really helpful to keep all kinds of bugs in check. His scent is pleasant for humans and unbearable for most types of mosquitos. Why not minimizing the risks and planting these natural repellants next to the cooling system to make it as uncomfortable as possible for the dengue mosquito to get close ?



Cooltiles – a detour into a tempting Modular System that sadly proofed to be completely pointless for that matter…



easy and quick production:





tiles that would allow modular sizes:




To make the cooling effect work, the natural fridge demands an concentric shape that is also limited in the size. The bigger the size , the thicker the walls of the vessel must be! To keep the temperature low, the distance between the center and the wall can´t be indefinitely wide! Plain physics…

The cracks between the tiles represent an attractive spot for bugs to hide and place their eggs. Not something what most people would want next to their food.





Kibera markets – clean food storage

Current situation in the streets of Kibera: vegetables & fruits which are supposed to be sold on markets are displayed on bare ground.Not only during rain season this is a serious hygiene issue…

What can be done? Is there a way to solve it quick and easily, preferably with upcycled materials that leave the traders with no extra costs?



used materials:

  • buckets, cans, containers…whatever comes in hand and is suitable for carrying goods to the market..preferably stable enough to be used as a seat, when flipped over…
  • fabric scraps, firm plastic bags, any other material that can be torn in stripes and resist humidity…



bucket or container which are used for transporting the goods, gets tucked inside a costumized woven backpack. Once at the market, the content of the bucket gets spilled on an also woven hammock which was stored on the backside of the backpack to guarantee more comfort while transporting and serves now as a display for the goods.

To be used as a seat (what people already do) ,empty bucket or container gets flipped around and placed back inside the woven backpack.Slipknots on the backpack allow the attachment and uplifting of hammock between the bucket and  the bin of the next marketneighbour who has the same backpack-hammock system…and so on and so on…unless you have a whole chain of backpack-hammock-systems on the markets…

Backpacks and hammocks could be constructed in workshops or even by the traders during markettimes while they are waiting for the costumers. Community activity is included, since another person is always needed to make it work. Supposably this system could also work for bbq events in the western life, where food is placed and easily spilled on blanckets…






First weaving experiments:

cities potentials*vacant space*what does it take to make people participate in actions?*



Resolution of first analyses: Yes, there is still plenty of room in the city where stuff could happen! A lot of so far sad looking, forgotten voids seem to wait for visionary actions and projects that bring them back to life and perception. A great possibility for communities to take over! But what does it take to turn people into participants, exchange anonymity for community?…

The keywords could be:

*Fun*Sharing*Getting-to-know-your-neighbours*Feeling part of something*

There are already successful examples for that…Let´s dream up some more!



with Isabella Asp Onsjö, Julian Preindl, Oz Birri and Yanik Wagner