Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FOOD & DESIGN: DEZEEN FOR SCHOLTES


(Bowling Pamplemousse by Marc Bretillot)

It all might seem a bit precious, but Dezeen, the online architecture/design magazine, has completed a study of the nexus between food and design, in collaboration with luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer Scholtes.

While the 'report' tends to read much like most architect-penned literature (read: dry and humourless as hell), there's obviously a lot to process here.  The first half of the report is devoted to the importance of design at the table.  Some of it is rather obvious (the bit about ongoing food-related design project seems kind of a given); some of it rather specious (another bit about food as material arguably treats food as a luxury item or accessory - while bleeding the inherent humour of some of the projects cited dry - though they are quick to note that designers are reluctant to 'design' food itself); and much of it self-important (Dezeen points out the decline of molecular gastronomy and that designers are more interested in "organic, unadulterated 'slow' food," in that usual presupposed cultural authority that many designers assume they hold over areas they are neither trained nor practice in).  It ends off with a summary on how traditional artisanal facets and the theme of 'water' has influenced design over the last two years, a pedestrian recap of something equally unremarkable.

(Really, the first half is really only good to see a few names like Marc Bretillot mentioned, whose work has completely obscured any lines between cooking and art, and someone we'll cover in more depth at some later date.  The rest of the first half is excruciating to read, unless you happen to be a designer.)

(Ekokook by Faltazi)
The second half is devoted to kitchen design, and it's here where Dezeen, in the pocket of their expertise, picks up steam.  There's a lot of examples where the role of the kitchen has morphed from pure utilitarian  use to one with a good dose of entertainment thrown in, with a few mentions of cooking as a communal activity (but even more subtle overtones of cooking as hobby or entertainment, something I seem to remember Michael Ruhlman having written about before with great disdain).  For non-designers, there's a lot of good design porn to be had here, even though one has to wince through talk of 'authenticity' when gadgets and food appliances are discussed (as if a food processor somehow 'tainted' the process).  (To be honest, I couldn't make it through the report entirely in one read, much like how only the socially maladjusted could read through an entire OMA book and take it seriously.)

Or maybe that's just my own level of irritability with this design-will-save-the-world nonsense: I'm open to being wrong.  Check it out here and let me know what you think.

Joe.
the clutterer Web Developer

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