The Alchemist’s Dressing Table

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My extremely clever, talented, creative sister – Lauren Davies – made a magical invention for her final project at the RCA, where she was studying for an MA in Design Products.

It’s called The Alchemist’s Dressing Table.

These are her words…

The Alchemist’s Dressing Table is a collection of analog tools for the production of natural cosmetics at home, inspired by beautiful ancient rituals and the transformative powers of alchemy.

The palette of copper and maple wood are chosen for their traditional and folkloric symbolism respectively. Cork is used for its insulating properties, borosilicate glass for its heat resistance and stainless steel for strength. All components are fabricated in collaboration with London-based craftsmen.

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Together, the tools form a statement piece; reigniting a dialogue about our relationship with nature and the materials we use. I believe this could be the future of cosmetics for the modern woman who has a desire to be more in control of what she uses on her skin and the impact they have on the environment.

The tools I’ve designed will enable women to forge a stronger connection to their personal beauty rituals and a more magical relationship with nature’s intricate mysteries.

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The distiller can be used to make hydrosols and essential oils. Water is boiled in the spun copper bowl using an oil burner. Steam then passes up through the scented plant material sitting on the handcrafted sieve above. The top compartment is filled with ice allowing its spun copper base to act as a condenser. The steam carries the scent particles up through the second sieve and hits the condenser where it cools, turns into liquid and drips down into the collection glass below.

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Oils and waxes can be melted in the pan over the hot plate and mixed with scents and pigments. The scent infuser is for the cold maceration of volatile scented plants to make creams and balms. The scent is built us over time as unscented fat traps the airborne scent molecules from the plant material above.

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The kohl plate is for the preparation of black kohl eyeliner. Carbon collects on the underside of the copper plate from the almond oil burning in the oil burner below for a period of time. This black carbon deposit can then be mixed with almond oil for a smudged finish or aloe vera and witch hazel to allow a brush drawn line and used as eyeliner.

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The hand held tools comprise of a pair of copper tongs to be used with plant material in the distiller or scent infuser, a stirrer for the pan, a mixing tool for use with the kohl plate and a set of measuring spoons (TBSP, TSP, 1⁄2 TSP, 1⁄4 TSP) to be used where accuracy is needed.

See more of her wonderful work here.

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