Food is such an essential facet of our lives that we often overlook its significance, lasting impact, and the potential for improving food systems. Yet recent years have seen a major shift towards a broader consideration of our foodways, and along with chefs, designers and aspiring foodies alike, the Core77 Design Awards is proud to recognize Food Design as a new category for our 2012 program. Jury captain Marc Brétillot is on the vanguard of the movement, participating in everything from artisanal culinary practices to the creation of new products to innovation consulting for the food industry, not to mention organizing international events and performances for galleries and museums. The renowned Food Designer shared his thoughts on where food and design intersect, and why every single one of us has a stake in this category
We would like to thank Earlwyn Covington for collaborating with Marc on this interview. Earlwyn, an Adjunct Professor at ESAD at Reims, co-founded Thinking Food Design with Marc.
Core77: Tell us a bit about your jury and why you chose these individuals.
Marc Brétillot: There are four succinct and complementary visions and practices that make up this jury:
- Caroline Champion (www.exploratricedesaveurs.com) is an aesthetic philosopher who is passionate about culinary culture and is able to cross boundaries to explore what is happening in food within different practices.
- Alexandre Gauthier (www.lagrenouillere.fr) is a contemporary & creative chef who is a fervent enthusiast about the ritual of eating, the textures and savors that come from the plate, the palate, and the environment in which we eat.
- Alok Nandi (www.aloknandi.net.) is a consultant and scholar who has developed strategies around the architecture of taste. His vision is unique and brings to mind how food can interact with memory, the everyday, the banal and more.
...and myself: [As recently as] 15 years ago in France, Food Design was relegated to cooking schools. I have been developing this discipline at art and design schools across France & Europe with the support of projects that are dedicated to interdisciplinary collaborations with chefs, designers, artists, industrialists, manufacturers, architects, politicians and many more. www.marcbretillot.com
Together, we will be able to select [worthy winners through a collaborative] way of thinking that is beyond our own individual proclivities. We will [make our decision over] a wonderful dinner where all things are considered!Why is it important to recognize this category in a design awards program?
Food Design is rapidly becoming a new discipline in art, design & consumer culture, which is expanding exponentially with collaborative projects initiated by government agencies and private industries across the world. And yet... Food Design has existed since we began as toddlers. To know what we would eat and what we wouldn't. An award could only be a natural response to a an ever-asking question: how do we eat? Food Design touches much of who we are on a daily basis: from sourcing, creating/assembling, packaging, to choice, to consumption and environment, and then inevitable disposal.
Each act involves so many players that designing each and every one does not have to be insurmountable. It has to be accessible. It has to be relative, important. It has to last, doesn't it? One of the reasons is that [what we consume] not only gives us life but makes us who we are. An award for such endeavors is only natural and visionary.
What kinds of people or projects do you imagine entering your category?
People are definitely becoming much more aware of how we eat and even more conscious of eating habits. Product, packaging, graphic, interaction and service designers and strategists are going to parlay how eating will impact our daily lives and decisions. Not only will they give us qualitative selection, which we are striving for considering the world today, but [they will] also transmit new ideas about objects and instruments, ways of eating, ways of delivering food, and even ways of educating.
People who are interested in imagining the future of eating, or even the past and the present should be motivated by such a call! Each and every one experiences food in so many ways, but how do we consider it? How do we buy it, how do we consume it? It comes home with us. It stays in cupboards and refrigerators crossing kitchens—where such kitchens are possible. Where is pleasure? Where is need? Is there anything more? Satiation? Saturation? Daily life is integral to how we eat. Consumer choices are not only at stake, but what is offered to each and every one of us.
This category might not only interest designers, chefs, artists, restaurant owners and the like but also concept makers, trendsetters, shop owners, mass distributors, local farmers, and anyone else who considers food as key to their enterprise. Food is Design in itself.
What qualities will you be considering when evaluating each entry?
Creativity, originality, positivity and optimism. Cultural heritage and legacies should also be traced and considered. Anyone can make a claim. Mass distribution, local commerce, guerrilla kitchens... a school bake-sale. What will make it extraordinary is the vision of each.
Where do you see the future of this field heading?
As more and more people (who come from different backgrounds) are constantly nourishing and enriching this domain, this discipline gives way to an open discourse, full of exchange, and it really is rather exciting because it's unmarked territory where ideas can be shared, certain dreams realized and where an independent spirit gives cause for coherence and a multitude of responses. Industrial agriculture next to local farming. Mass consumption next to farmer markets. Everyone has a point of view. We all have choice.
This field will [inevitably] continue to grow, [but] with individual choice comes a certain responsibility, a certain know-how. We like what we eat, what we buy, what it makes us; across the world, we will all continue to do so. And by sharing our ideas, speaking about production, longevity, cost, taste, choice, environments—urban or rural—we might all come to table together and share an experience which is beyond anything that we can do alone. Food is the language of all, and [my current project] Thinking Food Design is just one example of this type of collaboration.