FOOD CONCEPTS BY EATING: PHILOSOPHY OF DESIGNER MARIJE VOGELZANG
"Eating design is to design from the verb 'to eat'.”
Designers who work with the subject of food are often called 'food designers'. According to Marije Vogelzang, food is already perfectly designed by nature. Instead, her designs focus around the verb 'to eat'. Vogelzang is inspired by the origin of food and the preparation, etiquette, history and culture around it. For this reason, she doesn't consider herself a 'food designer', but as the first 'eating designer' in The Netherlands.
"There is no material that comes as close to human beings as food."
It is often thought that designers who work with food only design the shape of it. Vogelzang's aim is to look at the content and background of the food as well; the shape is just a tool to tell a story.
"You put my designs inside your body."
After 10 years of experience with food projects, Vogelzang has developed a philosophy consisting of eight inspirational points. They can be used as a tool to inspire designers and creatives about food. Eating design is a uncultivated area with an endless amount of possibilities. The eight point philosophy gives insight into where the possibilities of working with food can lead.
"Food goes to the stomach, but it can also activate the brain and can rouse strong memories and emotions."
The eight points are:
- the senses
The eight point philosophy is thoroughly covered in Marije's book EAT LOVE.
A selection of projects that Vogelzang has been involved in over the last 12 years. It’s all about humans. Food is simply used as a tool to interact, explore, engage and enjoy.
Some projects are client based. Others are self initiated.
Bits 'n Bites
"For museum Boymans van Beuningen I created a huge low tech conveyor belt where ball shaped food got transported by the participants and caused people to interact while eating. The installation supplied low tech mail messages exchanging notes between people."
Eat Love Budapest
A 3 day performance where Gypsy (Roma) Women feed visitors while telling their life stories.
In the white space of the A38, a boat on the Danube river, there will be 10 separate installations. 10 units with a seat for one guest at a time. The installation is made of tables with extended legs covered with white cloth.
Participants take place in the installation and become separated by the rest of the space. They cannot look outside trough the textile.
Every participant will be served by one Roma woman. She will serve the food that she has personal memories of. She will feed the participant wet things with a spoon, dry things with her hands. Feeding is a very intimate ritual that is a rare thing happening in life. Especially when it’s done by a stranger. The whole performance will be a ritual; First the woman washes her hands. The visitor cannot see who serves him but he can see her hands. While doing this she starts telling him her life story. As if she would be speaking to a friend and gently like a mother to her child.
The visitor cannot see her face or see her eyes. This is essential. He needs to feel like there are no social codes or rules he needs to follow. She will show him the dishes that have memories for her. She will feed him with her dishes while talking about her life.
Inside the installation the participant sits in a peculiar environment. There is a small musical organ inside that he can play with, there is a big paper roll with napkins that he can use. There are many pieces of paper with written texts and pictures of family pinned on the inside. All written by the gypsy ladies. Ideas he can read about, recipes, dreams. There is a lightbulb hanging on the ceiling making a kind of children’s hiding place.
The ladies wear a scent on their wrist. This is the only scent they wear. It is a scent that has a personal meaning to them. and is one of the ingredients in the dishes that she serves. On top of the installation is a set of transparent balloons filled with helium plus the scent of the particular woman. the scented balloons will release their smell for about 9 hours.
(this is an idea by Bernardo Fleming of IFF) After the food is eaten and the meal is over the gypsy woman disappears. The visitors get out of the installation and they get one balloon from a helper. The balloon can be taken home as a memory of the experience.
When finishing the experience the participant will never know who he was fed by. The more abstract connection can be made; everybody has a story behind him or her.
Reactions to this project have been very emotional. Most people were touched in their heart. Some (approx. 5%) were disgusted. The debate of gypsy acceptance in Hungary as very actual and the feedback of many visitors was that finally this was a complete different and refreshing take on it. Going beyond the gypsy theme and bringing it to a higher level of life.
For a press-conference by Hella Jongerius at Jongeriuslab. Peppers stuffed with different ingredients each with specific qualities: brain-bombs, sex-bombs, energy-bombs…..
Faked Meat is a project that started as a reaction to the meat substitutes that supermarkets have had on their shelves for a long time already, sometimes even amidst the ‘real’ meat products. Tofu, for example, can be made in the form of cutlets that, with the addition of spices, are hardly distinguishable from the meat versions. Even in health shops we find mixtures of protein and vegetables marketed as sausages. “You might just as well invent new animals. Why not play God?”, I thought and then started fantasising about the possibilities of bringing food design and animal design closer together.
Mouth Watering Spoon
Cooking spoon for the ‘saved by droog’ Project in Milan April 2010.
A few months ago droog has purchased 5135 items saved from liquidation sales and other leftovers.
Every month about 500 companies in the Netherlands go bankrupt. Where do their products go? In the past several months droog has been bidding on liquidation auction items ranging from handkerchiefs to dog baskets. They acquired 5135 items—1 water cooler, 1 dining table, 2 bar stools, 4 metal trays, 6 wooden trays, 8 mirrors, 10 small bowl sets, 11 cups, 14 dog baskets, 20 dish towels, 40 glass vases, 50 safety vests, 60 sets of cutlery, 80 folding chairs, 90 flower pots, 100 candy pots, 102 wooden spoons, 168 plates of glass, 200 saltshakers, 448 wallets, 500 matchboxes, 720 cola glasses, and 2500 handkerchiefs. (Text from the droog website.)
When Renny asked me to do something with one of these items my choice fell immediately on the spoons. Although, I have to say, I was tempted by the dog baskets..
Initially I thought designing something with these spoons would be a piece of cake. But for some reason it wasn’t easy. First of all, these spoons were a kind of b-choice lot. Varying in shape, size and wood. Eventually I covered the spoon with different layers of silicone in various textures. In this way it seems as if the spoons are covered with cake batter. I like the possibility of silicone to make a very textured surface and play with this idea. It gives the spoons a less slick appearance. Food itself is seldom slick.
Most of the design I make is, at least partly, made of food. This design is completely non-food. It might seem a big change but in fact, dealing with silicone has a lot of similarities with cooking. It’s all about consistency, adding the right amount of hardener etc.
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