While we are talking all things Scandinavian (see Monday’s post) we haven’t quite finished with Denmark.
Recently the Danish company A Sort Of Coal sent us a very detailed press release on the magical properties of er, sticks. Well White Charcoal sticks to be precise and we were impressed not just by the very interesting story of what white charcoal is, but also how deeply lovely the product looked. Above is a ‘starter pack’ stick of Kinshu Binchotan white charcoal, a beautiful hand blown bottle by Danish glass blowers Fragile and some water that has been purified and had minerals added to it (through the stick).
It might sound like a load of old tosh, but the Japanese and Koreans have been purifying their water, and improving their health, by using white charcoal for centuries. They are fastidious about its production (it’s a case study in sustainability) and you will find it being eaten, improving the air quality, purifying water and even being used in beauty products. It’s completely fascinating reading about it (more here if you are really interested, including why it’s called ‘white’ when it’s clearly black) but you might want to skip straight to the bottom line and learn that one stick of Kinshu Binchotan will turn tap water into lovely tasting mineral water in a matter of hours. And being Scandinavian (via Japan) it looks deeply cool while it does it.
The clever thing about this charcoal is that it is able to adsorb (rather than absorb, am I sound a bit like Dr Brian Cox yet?) impurities from the water and bind with them to remove them permanently, holding them in its vast microcavities, one gram of charcoal has a surface area of a tennis court apparently and can remove 75% of the chlorine found in tap water. It works out much cheaper than buying mineral water, and probably turns out a better quality product too.
You don’t have to by the bottle pack, you can just buy the sticks and pop them in you own containers, and you can also buy sticks to purify your air (nice looking ones too, on the right below) and even sticks to purify other drinks, such as cocktails (see left below). We haven’t tried these, so it could all be bunkum, but I think not, as designer and retailer Tom Dixon stocks it in his Tom Dixon Shop and he’s no idiot, it’s also available at Skandium, La Fromagerie and Milk Concept boutique (and in the US, check here for stockists). You can also buy it on line and find out more about it here.
The Danish are clearly keen on sticks. I remember writing a small feature on the Happiness Boutique L.U.I.S back in 2008, where a group of students from the Danish School of Design got together and opened a very pretty concept retail store that sold sticks, carefully presented in smart boxes, in order to try and open an intellectual dialogue with visitors on what Happiness was and could it be bought? The sticks sold out completely.