La Cápsula Atole
Graphic Design, Product Design
Sparked by the memory of my grandmother’s atole (ə–tō’lā), La Cápsula Atole, meaning the atole capsule, is a contemporary approach on Classic Period Maya vessels designed to easily transport
and consume the traditional drink.

Made from a blend of white rice, milk, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and sugar, my grandmother’s atole
remains one of my all-time favorite dishes; not only for its sweet taste, but for the memories it
brings back—moments of love and laughter shared with my grandmother at her kitchen table.

Interested in finding the cultural meaning behind my grandmother’s recipe, I decided to research
the origins of atole, as well as how the ingredients, cooking utensils, and appliances she used in preparing and cooking her recipe have evolved over time.

Originating from Mesoamerica during the Classic Period (CE 250–900), my research led me to find that atole was a popular dish made by the Maya people, involving various tools and ingredients. 

Among this assortment of objects, the vessels used to transport and consume atole were very unique. These objects were often inscribed on the outside with hieroglyphics designating who
they belonged to (typically the Maya elite) and what could be stored inside them.

Yet, while the bowls and cups of today are used for transporting and consuming atole in the same
way that Classic Period Maya vessels were, I felt that the personalized quality of these traditional objects were lost somewhere in the history of their development.

After looking back at my memories and at history, I decided to combine the qualities of Classic
Period Maya vessels with the fondest sensations I experienced when drinking my grandmother’s atole. These facets, when brought together, resulted in four design goals:

 — Easy-to-use
 — Portable
 — Customizable
 — Engaging

From here, these goals were built upon into concept sketches. The chosen concept was then turned into a wireframe using Adobe Illustrator, then expanded into a 3D model in Rhinoceros 5.0, and lastly 3D printed into a tangible, functioning model.
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