Eating, cooking and design: This subject is RICH. Head-spinningly so. The relationship of this inseparable trio has evolved over the course of millennia, from the earliest molcajetes to the latest immersion circulators; from neolithic Japanese pottery to Crucial Detail; from the ornate cuisine of early Imperial China to the architectural grande cuisine of Marie-Antoine Carême, and the edible landscapes of Rene Redzepi & Co. (those veer into the territory of art, I suppose, but are part of the subject's topography).
A friend is in the early stages of curating an exhibit on the subject for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, to launch in 2016. At lunch today, over a spread of un-artful but wholly delicious Turkish mezze, we considered the many intersections of culinary and design arts -- the role ceramics plays in a traditional Kaiseki meal, Homaro Cantu's polymer ovens, the movement from vertical to horizontal plating in high-end cuisine, to name a few. A rather excellent way to spend an hour and a half.
At the moment, the genre is racing as though in fast-forward, driven by diverse motives -- artistic, practical, humanitarian. Last week's New York Times article highlights parts of that momentum, citing a handful of creative minds working under the expansive umbrella of food + design. It doesn't touch the subject of art and design on the plate, but another NYT article from last fall, "The Ceramic Canvas," culled visual evidence that the distance between a dinner table and a MoMA gallery is ever-shrinking. And then there's the wild and creative world of package design...
I returned home and pulled a few related favorites off the shelf. Should you want to investigate offline, with book in hand, these are four titles to mine for food-design creativity, from the past, present and into the future: Menu Design in America, Inspired Shapes, Create: Eating, Design and Future Food and Eating Architecture.