It may seem flavorless, colorless and odorless, but it’s not. For a while now, water has journeyed beyond the dinner table to fill stylish bars, legendary containers, bakeries, books, art and science.
Text: Daniel Greve @danielgreve ilustrationn: Hugo Horita
A water bar – complete with a bartender and a selection of bottles – might sound strange and even dull, but then again, it has a major advantage over conventional bars, especially if you like the idea of not having to hand over your car keys.
Le Water Bar Colette in Paris – located right next to the Louvre – is the most famous and eye-catching water bar in the world (followed by Tokyo’s Aqua Bar). Even Santiago, Chile, used to have 8 Vertientes, but the fact this water bar closed shop doesn’t mean that interest in water has dried up.
On the contrary, water is no longer just a consumer product, but an element that draws the crowds. One example: Chilean artist Sebastián Leyton’s exhibition on crystalized water fractals. He describes his art as “taking advantage of water’s inherent beauty to paint a realistic portrait of something we can’t see: gigantic dimensions for something so very small.”
Leyton’s work bears some similarity to that of Japan’s Masaru Emoto, who deciphered the messages contained in water. Beyond the realm of simple consumption, Emoto posited that water’s molecular composition changes according to the words and the energy we put into it. Insulting a glass of water fills it with bad energy, while playing certain harmonious melodies or even just speaking a few kind words can make it purer and better.
It’s a non-scientific principle put into practice by some bakeries, like Amor y Pan in the Chilean capital. They make their bread with water that has been imbued overnight with mantras and music with the aim of energizing it. For one thing, it helps the bread stay fresher for longer. And since water is such a significant part of bread – not to mention our bodies – when we eat it, we become part of a chain that places a special emphasis on H2O.
Drops of Difference
Does it seem strange that water is worthy of so much analysis? You would be astonished to taste the difference between Evian (a mineral water from the French alps, filtered naturally through subterranean ice for some 15 years) and Acqua Panna (a natural mineral water that descends from the Apennines before emerging in Tuscany) or Pedras Salgadas (a Portuguese water from rivers that takes ten years to filter through layers of granite that enrich it with minerals).
The differences between the first water and the last are so impressive that it’s impossible to not be shocked. In comparing these bottled waters, fine subtleties as well as obvious differences are revealed. Evian is light and almost sweet. Pedras Salgadas is sparkling and noticeably salty. Two worlds, one product.
Water on Paper
Chile boasts a true expert in sommelier Marcelo Pino. He developed the Guía de Aguas, a water guide as interesting as it is unprecedented, in which descriptions like “a brilliant water that recalls snow” and “a greasy, oily texture” are used to describe water.
The guide also explains water’s uses and offers ideal pairings: which water goes best with food, which water goes best with a given wine. But Pino isn’t alone in his affinity with and expertise in water. Science journalist Alok Jha recently published the beautiful – and highly technical – volume, The Water Book, “the extraordinary story of water, our most ordinary substance.” There’s also The Drinkable Book, which is actually a series of high-tech paper filters assembled in the form of a book.
Given the harsh reality that 3.4 million people die every year from problems related to water quality and scarcity, The Drinkable Book proposes to revolutionize the way that many people access information and offers an effective purification process.
It’s crystal clear that water is more than it appears. Beyond everything that it inspires – science, art, food and fashion – above all, water is life. in