Contemporary Silverware

Urban Food & Design Exhibition
Vienna Design Week 27.9.2019 - 6.10.2019
Althan Quartier, Julius-Tandler-Platz 3, 1090 Wien

Contemporary Silverware is an interpretation of cutlery, influenced by current diet trends. Instead of redesigning knives, forks and spoons again only formally, the project focuses on the relationship of our society and its food, reaching far beyond table culture. “Protein Scoop”, “Fasting Fork”, “Fat Scalpel” & “No Dessert for You” stand for trends, that have a profound impact on the lives of their followers.

Representing all the supplements, which are being consumed by a large part of the population nowadays, “Protein Scoop” is inspired by the cylindrical form of a protein powder measuring cup. A diet rich in protein, as being used by many bodybuilders, has been promoted as the main condition for performance and a healthy body recently. In the face of climate change and the negative carbon footprint of animal products it is problematic to consume huge amounts of animal protein on a daily basis. The disappearing regular spoon is a symbol for the advice by dietitians to eat a well-balanced, and for the largest part, plant based diet, which is being overlooked by the media in the face of new trends every few months.

In many aspects fasting is very different to the supplementary trend. Its promise is not based on a certain superfood, instead you have to stop eating altogether. Depending on the method, you either reduce calories, or stop eating during certain time frames. “Fasting Forks” symbolizes this abstinence by only having one of the four spikes left for food intake.

Conventional knifes are made to dissect food. Scalpels in contrary are also used for interventions on the human body. In a similar way consumer culture promoted a shift from food to the consumer himself. Food has no longer the purpose to feed & satiate us, it has to unfold a special effect in our bodies, like increasing our performance, tightening the skin or helping us to concentrate longer. In the end “Fat Scalpel” can also be used if all the promises of the supplement industry and fasting gurus have not worked. Simply force your idea of what a body should look like on your canvas – yourself.

Traditionally dessert is the last part of the meal and a homage to indulgence. The bottom of the “No Dessert for you” spoon has been removed, transforming the act of eating to a sisyphos task. Once you want to lift the spoon, the food drops back down. Eating the “right” way has become a continuous challenge, whether it be renouncing dessert, counting macro nutrients or having to think about the climatic impact of food. In our society eating has become a political act, because politics have failed to create a sustainable and healthy framework for food production. There are plenty more discussions on food and diet to be held as a society. In the meantime we should in no case forget the sensual side of food, nor let any trend take “dessert”, also in metaphorical sense, away from us.

The design itself is a reference to Josef Hoffmanns famous cutlery set Nr. 135, which marks a shift away from historism to a clear modern formal language in his work and cutlery design in general. In cooperation with the “Wiener Silber Manufactur” the traditional design has been modified, creating “Contemporary Silverware”, a statement about design and its connection to society, which goes far beyond the form itself.