Niu Niu Tableware Aims to Express Hong Kong's Community Eating Culture
Food is a language that expresses culture.
It symbolizes how we define ourselves in terms of religion, ethnicity, social class and so on. it offers insights into place history, community and memories. This project takes the conjunction of food and objects from earlier design experience and further builds upon for it. In particular, I focused on the cultural heritage of Hong Kong and the rich cuisine it has. It uses a local perspective to respond to the aesthetic and sensibility of Hong Kong and, in a way, create a new imaginative form of connection with others in the world.
Therefore, this Niu Niu project explores the relationship in society, lifestyle and history through Hong Kong food culture and further investigates the eating habits, food serving and food choice to reveal the characteristic of this city. Furthermore, it concentrates on Hong Kong traditional food, Yum Cha, in which dumplings act as the provocation to explore the idea of food, material and experience. The dumpling acts as the portal through which questions of making, material, performance and experience are explored.
Hence, the objective of this project is to utilize the quintessence of Hong Kong cuisine as design narrative, integrate into object design as a way to authentically design for Hong Kong food culture.
Sophie Gaur (Supervisor)
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This Niu Niu project looks at the food culture of Hong Kong, through an investigation of its ingredients and habits, as well as practices around the ways of making and eating. Food directs a rich discourse on culture, framed around beliefs, methods, and intrinsic ideas. It is one of the critical definers of social identity. Practices around food enable people to create, share and gather, as ways to enrich and explore individual, family and other social relationships. This project uses food as creative driver. Through this, to translate a culturally specific experience, into one that speaks a more universal visual and material language.
Specifically, this project concentrates on a traditional Hong Kong food item, the Dim Sum. The dumpling acts as the portal through which questions of making, material, performance and experience are explored. The Dim Sum in a sense, a gift, wrapped up, concealing its contents and promising delight. The design intention is to navigate a similar trajectory, through receiving, opening, tasting through the creation of tableware. The project aims to deliver, via material and visual analogies, the sense of making, serving and sharing of this culturally specific food, in a contemporary global environment.
The project narrative started when I was making dumplings with my family. Making and eating dumplings at home doesn't just fill up your stomach—it also brings about the feeling of love and connection with family. This intangible heritage is passed to the next generation in order to preserve Hong Kong's unique culture. Through immersion, this aspect of community began to extend further to the details of food making processes. The act of making reveals the narrative of making, cooking and materiality.
This set of tableware contains a ceramic hand-formed bowl, a center object which is used to serve the dumplings and a sauce plate. It utilizes the food making process as a design narrative, through the act of dim sum making to reveal the materiality, culture and performance. The interaction between the users and the tableware contains their own story that is related to food. Hence, Niu Niu tableware is more than object design—it also acts as a formal journey for people to understand the culture of Hong Kong and food.