The Intersection of Food + Design: A Thought Provoking Look
Aug 09, 2018
How empowering would it be to cause social impact with your design? Have you ever thought about mixing design, technology and food to transform the way we eat? I honestly haven’t thought about this before. At least not in this impactful fashion. I didn’t realize that food & design could be so interesting and important together. What comes to mind when you hear “food & design”? To me, I envision fancy, curated dishes perfectly shot on Instagram. You know, the ones that look too good to be true? Or how about those super exclusive and fancy restaurants you see on TV shows but can only dream about actually going? So it was a happy surprise to read that The Dutch Institute of Food and Design is a platform for designers working with food and its impacts on society. They instigate designers creativity to collaborate with specialists and develop alternative approaches to the food industry.
We all eat. It doesn’t matter what you eat, when or how much. But that is something all of us have in common. Eating. Some see food as fuel for our body. Other see food as a ritual, as a reward. It doesn’t matter how you see the food industry, you do participate in it. So why not use your point of view and ability as a designer to disrupt the food sector? And don’t think about that beautiful dish that keeps popping into your head while you think about this. Think about the whole food industry, the whole process behind that food you are eating. Think about how important it is. From farming to transportation, healthcare to waste, there are a ton of steps involved in the process of creating our beloved food. Have you ever stopped to think about the societal and environmental challenges that surround food? Yes? No? Maybe? So this may be a good opportunity for an exercise. Next time you eat something, take a few minutes to think about it. Think about the process behind that particular morsel you are eating. Where was it produced? How was it transported to where you are? Did it cause any impact during its journey to your plate? And most importantly, do you have any ideas that could change one of those answers you asked yourself? I bet, at least once, it crossed your mind that a certain package could have been designed better. That this certain material would have made a much better to go box than the one in front of you. Or that we should be able to have a better use for some of the food waste we see. Maybe it crossed your mind that when we eat a banana and discard the peel, someone, somewhere, could have a brilliant idea for what to do with that peel. What about that little sucker peanut shell? Can we smash it and turn them into beautiful furniture? Maybe we can blend corn cobs and turn them into a natural dishware line? How about food transportation? If we could have some sort of Lyft service for trucks where rides could be shared to make transportation more cost effective and accessible? I don’t know. Is any of this possible? But this kind of exercise certainly provokes a lot of thinking and how great ideas come to life.
Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction. Design has different connotations in different fields. In some cases, the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, coding, and graphic design) is also considered to use design thinking.
So you see, you don’t need to be a chef or a farmer or anyone directly working inside the food industry to change things. It all starts with an idea.
In case you have something related to food design in mind you can check out The Dutch Institute of Food and Design Future Food Design Awards. They are still accepting projects for the 2018 Awards. The deadline is August 12. They are looking for ideas that will change the way we see the food system. Take a look of last year’s winning project.
Winner 2017 – Fernando Laposse
We were delighted to post about last year’s winner Fernando Laposse and his awe-inspiring project dubbed Totomoxtle. Totomoxtle is a project inspired by the relationship of Mexico with its maize by creating a surfacing material from naturally coloured, native corn husks. The process is simple, the husks are flattened and glued onto veneer or MDF which can be sawed and lasercut to create tiles or marquetry for interiors and furniture. Apart from creating a sustainable material, the project also aims to raise awareness about the uncertain future of heirloom maize and the people that harvest it using traditional methods in an increasingly globalised world. Read more about Totomoxtle.