Agrarian consciousness – how food is grown and harvested, and where it comes from – has been rising steadily for the last decade. Sustained interest in sustainable agriculture, energy and consumer products has also garnered a great deal of time and attention from top designers and innovators.
Product designer, Qiyun Deng has interpreted these matrices of agriculture, design and ecology in the form of biodegradable tableware for his diploma project at ECAL, in Switzerland. Made of bioplastic PLA, Deng’s project, Graft is a testament to the inherent artistry of nature’s colors and textures. Merging form and function, Deng modeled his bio-untensils after common fruits and vegetables. His project honors beautiful design and the moral imperative to live consciously and sustainably.
The briefing for this project was to uplift disposable products by introducing a “haptic” quality, such as texture or color. Deng noticed that the texture and shape of fruits and vegetables could be applied to everyday artifacts: for example, a celery stem made sense for a handle; a petal of artichoke was perfect for the bowl of a spoon; and one half of a honey melon would make a bowl fit for the human palm.
Textures were copied by various techniques including 3D printing; and then parts were joined together by a grafting technique that is also commonly used in horticulture. The final prototypes were finished at the school workshop by using two parts of polyurethane resin with different colors.
Qiyun Deng leaves his audience with one final thought: “Will you throw them away easily?”
Beth Lauck contributes bi-monthly posts about emerging and disruptive design and communications trends, and helps forecast why and how these changes will affect market intelligence. She also maintains a blog devoted to the intersections between fashion, future studies and trend science. She completed an internship with Trend Union in 2012 as the Assistant Editor and Community Manager of Trend Tablet, and considers her experiences with the Trend Union team an invaluable addition to her work as a trend forecaster and fashion theorist.