A Matter Of Taste / A Taste For Design

July 12, 2020
Photo by Thirza Schaap

Photo by Thirza Schaap

by Lidewij Edelkoort





"The generous information found in food making is captivating; an almost pioneering quest by a younger generation of designers to create new materials in order to save our resources." 


~ Lidewij Edelkoort





For years, our interest in food and food preparation has been growing to become the true obsession of our culture. From healthier ingredients to newer cooking styles to finer flavours and exquisite plating, the art of food design is now mastered not only by top chefs but also by amateurs. New concepts around a single type of food are conceptualized while ancient archaeological recipes are unearthed and researched.

From urban farm to food table, the bio chain is feeding city dwellers with better products and delicious varieties. As old vegetables are rediscovered, antique desserts are revisited and new combinations being tested; food seems to become even more fickle than fashion! The multicultural public goes with the flow and embraces new foods from other countries, creating hybrids between cuisines, igniting an even more adventurous taste in their dining.


The history of food has paid witness to history at large, somehow symbolizing the essence of each period. Shipping once saw the birth of preserved foods to nourish far-away colonies, while railways later brought produce from farms to cities for the first time. Late last century, trends in food mirrored the speedier connections of the Internet, with convenient preparations and low-fat compositions replaced by comfort foods whenever the stock markets took a crash. More recently, culture was democratized so street foods were sampled, food trucks invented and farmer’s markets resurrected. Eating today can be enjoyed at any level of sophistication and is part of the very fabric of our society.





(left) baked buckwheat bread with almond butter, coloured with blueberry juice; on top of an art object by Tomasz Niedziłka (courtesy Jouw Store) & Excava™ 4046 by Caesarstone; photo by Juliette Chrétien & Daniel Costa 
(centre) Salts stool by Erez Nevi Pana 
(right) handmade knives by Othmar Prenner, photo by Daniel Costa





Almost ten years ago, at Trend Union we conducted an analogical study between food and fashion, which lead to the popularity of the macaroon as a colour inspiration and brought farmers’ clothes to the runway. Yet now the way food is prepared and the way design research is conducted is becoming so close that often one doesn’t detect the difference between the two. Materials are reconstructed, cooked and smoked, blended and battered, tossed and tasted; and therefore the lessons learned from the kitchen can help us to understand and anticipate the future of design. The generous information found in food making is captivating; an almost pioneering quest by a younger generation of designers to create new materials in order to save our resources. The importance of recycling is no longer an exception and generates a whole collection of recomposed and recooked elements that will replace plastic, wood, metal and more.


The core of cooking can be taken as a direction for the transformation of materials and the results are innovative and compelling; introducing 21st-century morality to an organic aesthetic that will gradually penetrate all sectors of design. Ceramics will become chunky, glass unruly, textiles hirsute and concrete inclusive, while plastic should survive only as an existing resource to be recycled. Traditional materials such as wood and metal will often be handled in a disentangled and more abstract manner, just like a contemporary cook serving a deconstructed recipe. The making of soup is possibly the most important idea, where several ingredients can be intimately combined and blended, creating integrated matter able to be 3D printed at last.


This inspiring movement will lead to an alternative way of making with more respect and love for our planet; fit for the post-COVID landscape, introducing a slower timeline for preparing, praying for patience in order to create a different pace for planning our future design directions.

Bon appétit!




* This text is an adaption of work published as part of Trend Union’s Home & Interior Forecast for 2021. For more information on this design tool, please email ragna@edelkoort.com or follow Edelkoort on Instagram.