We live in precarious times and scarcity of food is, at this point, an undeniable projection. While seeing a slow decline in your favorite produce may be hard to imagine, it's also important to envision how a life without them might be designed. Designer Meydan Levy of Bazalel Academy of Art and Design's conceptual project "Neo Fruit", the 2019 Core77 Design Awards winning student project in the Speculative Design category, focuses on one of the most anciently depicted foods that has served as a symbol of abundance throughout history— fruit.
Neo Fruits were designed by Levy to be produced with 4D printers using cellulose, an organic material that can easily be structurally manipulated. The dry structure, or "the peel", is enriched with phytochemicals. The internal makeup of the fruit is filled with micro-tubes, which mineral and vitamin-enriched liquids are then injected into to simulate the real material insides of fruit.
This liquid injection creates a dynamic life-like object that both indicates shelf life and averts the previously freaky, dystopian supplemental foods into a more traditional, consumable package. The romanticism around fruit often indicated by timing— eating when at its peak ripeness— is kept intact.
"Fruit provoke emotions and desires, have a perfect packaging…[and use color] to indicate which minerals they contain," notes Levy. Neo fruit utilizes the experience of consuming through interactive packaging that still maintains the main themes of the fruit itself, allowing users to reap the benefits of nutrition supplements enjoyably. The color given to the inside nutritional supplements is designed to recall fruit in its original form, and remind the user both familiar indications of nutritional value and ripeness.
Levy's idea was bred from the fact that while the world population is growing, the rising demand for food and consequences of modern agricultural and industrial processes means we've arrived at a time where a paradigm shift is urgent. Neo Fruits is a collection of artificially designed fruits that intend to fill the gap our history to food has created both sensuously and economically.
The experiential act of eating the fruit bridges nature, human, and the symbolism we've been drawn to throughout history. "The idea is not to critique," says Meydan, "but to present an aspiration, a vision, derived of curiosity and thought."