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On Monday 10 November a new project assignment for the the Master’s in Industrial Design was launched under the working title of Food tools! In collaboration with Alessi and with a view to the upcoming Milan Expo 2015, twenty-five students from various backgrounds and provenance supervised by the tutor Valerio Sommella will spend the next term designing culturally-sensitive tools for food production, preparation and consumption.
The young designers attending the Master’s come from fifteen different countries and represent an ideal proving ground for the fundamental assumption of the contest: how we eat represents a cultural heritage to be preserved. Infact even in a globalised world, food and eating traditions remain one of the most significant expressions of a specific culture. If in the past the cultural influences used to change through geographical positioning, today’s megacities have become multicultural places and can accomodate inside the perimeter of a few boroughs different food cultures and lifestyle behaviours, each one reflecting specific memories and cultural identities.
The Master’s will investigate this evolution of world food cultures and the many ways they could feed into the design of our objects of daily use. The variety of food types available and the different lifestyles, religious or health-related beliefs around us will be taken into consideration in order to understand how these may give an impulse to the design of the tools and of the processes concerned with food. Participants will focus on the following aspects:
– design food preparation and processing (tools and processes for preparation and transformation of domestic and hand-prepared food)
– design for food consumption (tools and processes for individual and/or group food consumption)
– design for urban farming and gardening (tools and systems for growing food products)
The goal for the students is to envision how cultural influences from various places and social backgrounds can impact on the the objects and on the interaction models conventionally associated with the food experience. They’ll have to understand how different culture-sensitive functions can result into a different design so that the utensils can respond better to cultural variations in contrast to the conventional approach that tends to unify the needs of the users. The students are already researching on the first ideas, to be reviewed twice a week by Valerio Sommella. The next step will be a visit to the Alessi headquarter in Crusinallo and a meeting with Gloria Barcellini and Martin Gerst from Alessi Product Development department on 19 November.
Furthermore from January on, the projects will be refined further in consideration of the requirements of the 3D printing technologies. With the support of Davide Gamba the prototypes of the best ideas will be produced in-house and will have the chance to become part of the school’s exhibit for the next Design Week.