WHITE PAPER: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARTÌ GUIXÈ, THE GURU OF FOOD DESIGN

The Catalan designer, or ex-designeras he likes to call himself, was the first to apply design principles to foodand, to-date, is the most revolutionary proponent of this discipline.


Q: You are considered the founder of fooddesign. How did this extraordinary project come about?

A: I started working on food design in1995 when I became fascinated with food and its rituals. I realised that nobodyat the time saw food as an object, yet it was already being perceived as such.If food could be considered as an object, it could be treated as a designproject. In 1997 I did my first exhibition on the food design theme at the H2Ogallery in Barcelona.

The idea underlying my work in thisfield is the perception of food as a consumable object, and thus thepossibility to engineer it as part of a design project and according toprinciples such as ergonomics, usability, functionality… all the complexity of suchprojects can be applied to the food object.

If a chair needs a cushion becauseit’s uncomfortable, that’s due to a fault in design, a mistake in terms ofergonomics. Likewise, if you need cutlery and a plate to eat, you’re dealingwith something that’s been badly designed.

A good edible object shouldn’t needany cutlery nor plates, the issue of how to eat it should already have beensolved and the solution built-in in the object itself.

If food is designed in an optimal wayin terms of ergonomics, its enjoyment becomes less ritual. For instance itdoesn’t require sitting down at a table to be eaten.

Initially, the design community wasrather skeptical, so I was adopted by the world of art and lifestyle. This isthe reason I call myself an ex-designer: I’m not an artist, I’m really adesigner but I don’t work according to the traditional criteria of design.


Q: You also define yourself as a designgeneralist.

A: Yes, since the beginnings of my careerI have worked on several projects that weren’t very specific, possibly becausethe starting point of my projects is more conceptual, and as a consequencetheory can be translated through any kind of formal expressio


Q: What is a food designer, according toMartì Guixè?

A: The most important for me is thedesign project, thus food is principally an object of experimentation. I alwaysmake a distinction between doing and thinking: the design project is puretheory, it’s an exercise of the mind, while doing belongs to the craftsman andhas nothing to do with the designer, so the chef has nothing to do with thefood designer. Cooking is doing, designing is thinking.

The food designer is someone who workswith food without having any idea of cooking. I don’t cook, I can’t cook and Ihave no intention of learning how to do it.

Today, 25 years on, I still haven’tchanged my mind. I’m ever more oriented towards the conceptuality of a projectand less focussed on its formal contextualisation. The projects I work on arenot conceived to be real but are more of an exercise to influence people, tomake them think.


Q: In the recent Casa Mondo Food essay,you explain your theory about the relationship between the home, food and itsnew means of fruition in the 21st Century, also in the light of the currentpandemic.

A: Yes, the book features the drawings Imade for the Casa Mondo digital exhibition held in June 2020 at the MAXXImuseum in Milan. They reflect the changes in the way we cook and eat at home.

An interesting concept that emergedwas the substitution of the figure of the mother as the endower of gastronomicknowledge across the generations by that of the internet, through videos andtutorials. This new non-mother cook, which I called SIC SIRICHEF de Cuisine, iscosmopolitan, chaotic, without any rules and possesses all the information inthis world.

The consequence is that we will bewitnessing a progressive loss of the sense of food geography. The local andregional culinary traditions will get mixed up inexorably, giving birth to anew poli-cosmopolitan cuisine.



Q: You’ve also focussed on the lifestylechanges occurring inside our homes.

A: Exactly, and I would sum it up asfollows: similarly to what happened in 2001, after the terrorist attacks, withthe pandemic, we invited the world inside our homes through the social media.We’ve given it hospitality through the food published on Instagram and theonline sharing of our recipes.

Consequently, the home, as the objectof personal representation, was replaced by food, by what we eat and the way wecook it. Today, our social image is built through food and our own body becomesthe formal element of the house. Food has become a stage around which peoplegather to shoot videos and photos of the dishes they prepare.


Q: Thinking about industrial products, doyou think refrigerators are missing anything in terms of food preservation?

A: In 2003 I worked on a project,meta-territorial kitchen”, in which I called the refrigerator“temperature-control”, because its function is not to produce cold but tomanage and control temperature and humidity according to the type of foods itcontains. We need solutions that are more focussed on a better foodpreservation. Right now it’s the mushroom season: I’d love a fridge I couldgrow my own mushrooms in.


Q: Have you designed one recently?

A: Yes, 5 or 6 years ago I designed afridge that could produce a one-and-a-half metre long transparent stalactite,but haven’t been able to have it built yet.


For additional info please visit:

www.guixe.com

www.food-designing.com

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