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This device transforms Coca Cola into clear drinking water


“When I looked at Coca Cola, I saw dirty brown water”

It’s one of the planet’s most bewildering facts that there are places on earth where it’s easier to find a bottle of Coca Cola than a glass clean drinking water. But what if there was a machine that could convert all that fizzy sweetness into pure H20?

Designer Helmut Smits has created exactly that. His project, ‘The Real Thing,’ was conceived in 2006 but came together as a fully functional design for the “Sense Nonsense” exhibition that is part of the Dutch Design Week. Using a simple distillation process, the team of Smits and University of Amsterdam masters student Martien Würdemann, boil a container of Coca Cola to extract water vapour and turn it into drinking water.

“I try to look at the world and the things around us as a child or as an alien, like I see things for the first time. When I looked at Coca Cola that way, I saw dirty brown water, so it was logical to filter it back into clean drinking water, just as we do with all our waste water,” Smits told Dezeen in explaining the idea behind the project.


Now how about a machine that turns water into Coca Cola?

Despite the attention surrounding the project at Dutch Design Week, Smits says he has no plans to take the project any further. He explains: “I think there are two reasons for that. One – I think I’m quite lazy. Two – for me the concept is the most important part of an artwork, that’s where I find the most pleasure.”

Now, if somebody could hurry up and design a machine that transforms water into Coca Cola then we’ll all be happy.

Photos: Helmut Smits

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