Did you know that the invention of the spaghetti preceded that of the fork?

Synthesised egg by Annie Larkins

Salone del Mobile Food & Design Review

Arvid&Marie are a designer duo, creating experiences and technological adventures since 2015. We asked them to investigate the Food & Design scene in Milan at this year's Salone del Mobile 2019 exhibition. From the Design Triennale's extensive 'Broken Nature' exhibition to small scale immersive dinners such as Giulia Soldati's 'Contatto experience,' they explored the new paths that Food & Design is taking on the world stage.

Our exploration of Food Design kickstarted at a lunch table in the Brera district of Milan where Giulia Soldati invited her guests to eat by hand. You might do it at home sometimes, but here, on the terrace of a Milanese restaurant, sitting amongst a group table and with curious passers-by, the experience was strangely liberating. When Giulia and her associate cook Tommaso Buresti laid strands of spaghetti pomodoro on the table, it took experiments and improvisation to guide the slippery, messy food in our mouths. As the table transformed more and more into a study of movement and choreography, several directions appeared—from those striving for efficiency to the emergence of adventurous hand gestures.

While the main course challenged us to find our own eating techniques, the dessert course gave us the chance to alter the dish and taste with our own hands. A splash of cream, a piece of cookie and caramelised fruits could be crushed and mixed or layered and scooped. The audience, like ourselves, having been already bewildered by the spaghetti, fully forgot the unease of the first course. By removing all the tools of eating, Giulia reminded us that design creates experiences defined by the intention of the designer.

Broken Nature exhibition at Design Triennale

Can there be an egg without a chicken?

Our next interest at the Salone del Mobile was an unexpected but most welcome surprise. While in the via Tortona, we had the chance to get a full tour of the Material Futures exhibition.  Featuring graduating master students of Central Saint Martins (London), it was apparent that the group faces today’s food issues head-on and approaches sustainable challenges without compromising their values.

For example, Annie Larkins synthesised an egg with 0% egg content but with all its characteristics: the white, the yolk, and the nutritional value. In a plant-based food future, what directions will our palate take? Will we sacrifice efficiency to conserve the shape of nature or will we stray away from food in the form of animal products?

Contatto Experience by Giulia Soldati

Elissa Brunato's organic matter experiements

Finally, we saw Elissa Brunato‘s experiments with organic matter to search for a solution to one of fashion’s most polluting products: sequins. Produced out of plastic (predominantly in India), the leftovers of the stamps sheets and the trash of the industry greatly pollute nearby agricultural lands. “The project re-constructs the materiality and the alluring shimmer of a sequin to be entirely made from renewable cellulose, and in this way it is circular and environmentally embedded.” Another direction where we can imagine that the substitute will outshine the original material.

In addition to those two highlights, the entire group presented a radical position and a distinct determination towards the future that they envision. We are looking forward to see the final results of  their graduation work this summer.


Is Human really the opposite of Nature?

After exploring the trailblazers, we visited the very established Design Triennial, in particular the exhibition Broken Nature. Although immense and overwhelming, Broken Nature was a comprehensive display of research in the realm of design facing the anthropocene. Among the usual suspects, Broken Nature presented many surprising proposals for facing the anthropocene, resulting in an overall exhibition that was mesmerizing to get lost in. It feels as if the exhibition manages to showcase the entire diversity of current of thoughts that drive today’s design scene: biomimicry, anti speciesism, transhumanism, and many more. It was an incredible snapshot of our time that you should experience for yourself if you can.

Broken Nature runs until September 1, 2019.


Article written by the designer duo Arvid&Marie. Read more about them on their website.