Although energy-efficient home heating, not cooling, is more likely to be on everyone's brains now that summer is officially dones-ville, there's a certain passive cooling device that's been making a splash on the green design circuit over the past couple of days.

Mey Kahn and Boaz Kahn of Israeli design firm Studio Kahn took home third prize at Korea's green-minded IIDA Awards 2010 for the Ecooler, a beautifully designed system of hollow ceramic tiles that uses water to cool balmy living spaces.

Here's more about the Ecooler in the designers' own words:

The 'Ecooler' tile screen offers an alternative for cooling internal spaces without the use of electricity
it is based on a hollow ceramic tile that can carry and transfer water. Using a designated connector, it can be connected to other tiles, creating a natural cooling screen. 'Ecooler' is a combination between two traditional middle-eastern elements: the mashrabiya and the jara. The mashrabiya is an architectural element that bears social values as a mediator between the inside and the outside. It is designed to allow air and light into internal spaces. The jara is an ancient jug used for cooling water by seepage and 
evaporation through the clay. Unlike today's air conditioner that creates separation between the user and the environment while exaggerating climate conditions, the 'Ecooler' system takes responsibility
and allows you to live in harmony with the environment.
My favorite part of the Ecooler is that it's modular so you can move the system from room to room as you see fit, injecting your living spaces with a bit of decorative flair and cool air — much better than hauling around AC units and bulky, ugly fans. Plus, the Ecooler offers a great interior way to get some mileage out of a backyard rain barrel.

Congrats to Studio Kahn on the big win!  

Via [Designboom]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The Ecooler: Just add water
Taking its cues from ancient Middle Eastern design elements, the Ecooler is a electricity-free ceramic cooling device that interior design snobs can get behind.