mischer'traxler / Katharina Mischer & Thomas Traxler (AT) Nespresso Battery - There is a Lot of Energy in Nespresso Capsules

installation, 2010

The installation Nespresso-Battery demonstrates energy in Nespresso Capsules. The invisible energy becomes visual via ticking sweep hands, drawing attention to the importance of collecting and recycling aluminium as a valuable material, and questioning its use in the first place.

Energy for the movement of the sweep hands comes from 17 simple batteries. Each battery-block consists of used aluminium capsules, coffee grounds, strips of copper and salt water. In this mixture between a battery of coffee grounds and a salt-water battery, the aluminium functions as the anode, the copper as cathode, and the salt water as electrolyte. Due to a chemical reaction, a small but usable amount of energy is created. Each battery produces about 1.5-1.7 volts and enough power to run an electro mechanical quartz clock movement.

The 17 batteries (old capsules and coffee grounds) consist of around 680-700 Nespresso Capsules - an average yearly consumption for one person. All batteries are interconnected and, if well moistened, would be able to power a small radio. On the one hand, the installation questions the use of aluminium for disposable packaging and, on the other hand, aims at encouraging customers to bring their used Nespresso capsules back to the shops and other collection facilities in order to be recycled. Obviously, the installation is not meant to be an alternative source of energy, but shows the energy incorporated in aluminium production in an abstract way.

commissioned by: Nespresso Austria & Neigungsgrupper Design

mischer'traxler / Katharina Mischer & Thomas Traxler (AT)

Katharina Mischer (1982) and Thomas Traxler (1981) form Studio mischer’traxler.
Based in Vienna, they develop and design products, furniture, installations and more, with a focus on experiments and conceptual thinking. Balancing between hand craft and technology, they envision whole systems and new production methods rather than single products. After graduating from the IM-masters Department of Conceptual Design in Context at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Katharina and Thomas founded studio mischer‘traxler in 2009. Their work was honoured with the Austrian Experimental Design Award 2009, the DMY Award 2009, received an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica 2009 and was shortlisted for the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Award in 2010. Exhibitions on contemporary design have displayed their work in several museums including the Art Institute Chicago, Design Museum London, MAK Vienna, the Designhuis Eindhoven and at international festivals.