Reporting by Morgan Walsh, photos by Benjamin Gross and Ray Hu
When we came across Bosign's Kitchen Tablet Stand in the Discover Design Gallery, we couldn't help but think it looked a bit like, well, an ashtray. Cylindrically shaped and made from silicone, its five-inch base stands about an inch and a half high, with a small slit in each side. The cylinder has been 'sliced' on a diagonal to achieve the optimal viewing angle for an iPad propped inside. The screen can be set horizontally or vertically, and as its name suggests, the Tablet Stand is meant to be used while preparing food, displaying recipes while hands are otherwise occupied. Helpful during the making of a meal, its simple shape can be easily cleaned after.
Nearby, at the busy and plentiful Joseph Joseph booth, we spotted Cookbook, the analog adversary to Bosign's digitally-geared design. Borrowing from traditional bookstand elements, Joseph Joseph's plastic iteration does however come with some updates. The dynamic form folds together, itself becoming a book; when open, the book's spine converts into an angled leg with a non-skid foot. Movable windshield-wiper-like arms hold pages in place. (Though the often-thick cookbook could nary fit into Bosign's Tablet Stand, Joseph Joseph's Cookbook was also created to support electronic tablets; the bottom lip is cut away in the center to allow a tablet to be charged.)
However, the most interesting thing about these two pieces is not the job they perform, but rather the way they address the role of the recipe in the contemporary kitchen. Physical cookbooks, often passed down through generations offer the comfort of familiar cuisine via tried-and-true recipes. Tablets, able to suggest thousands of recipes from hundreds of websites, present unlimited options for exploration, free of predisposed associations. While one might argue that newly purchased cookbooks shed traditional expectations or that favored recipes can be saved digitally, lurking somewhere in the unconscious of those choosing to own the Kitchen Tablet Stand over the Cookbook, or vice versa, are undoubtedly musings on time-honored culinary traditions and others to be found in the future.