Edible Futures

Edible Futures / Landscape and Interior – Spatial Design Studio 2 @Polimi 

–  Food Politics, Food Cultures and Food Futures  –

‘Food is entering a period of radical technological reinvention that some predict will be as world-changing as the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The potential for technology to disrupt how we grow, distribute and experience food is catalyzing global conversations about the needs, values and aspirations embedded in our food systems.’¹

Food, its production and consumption is obviously fundamental to our biology, but the invisible infrastructure that feeds us is overlaid with what Dan Barber describes as ‘a web of relationships’ where our health, social status and cultural heritage intersect with both local and global politics. 

According to Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, in their introduction to Food: Bigger Than the Plate, food ‘shines a light onto social inequality and difference, while acting as the ultimate equalizer.’²  Food can bring us together and it can set us apart. It facilitates social interaction, bonds families and communities, and provides an income to many. Yet it also highlights the gap between rich and poor. Access to good quality food is also a growing concern, for where there is food poverty there is also a plethora of related health problems largely linked to obesity – really cheap food is bad for us and increases the likelihood of ill health and even early death. 

Food creates waste. Food packaging is also a huge concern, especially where this includes non-reusable plastics. It is clear that as individual consumers we need to interrogate the choices that we make with regards to what we consume and how. 

As designers we have also been concerned with the relationship between food and pleasure. Eating is as much a sensorial experience as it is a biological need, and the environments within which we enjoy food have the capacity to transform our complex relationship to it – ‘any vision for the future of food needs to account for deliciousness and pleasure (for all), both as a goal in its own right and because pleasure is a powerful motivational force for change.’³

activity + typology of use + topic

The intention of the Design Studio is to arrive at a set of design proposals that intersect the production, trade, preparation and/ or consumption of food as well as its waste products, exploring the typologies of Food Politics, Food Cultures and Food Futures.

Read the Brief Intro here

¹ Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, eds., Food: Bigger Than the Plate (V&A Publishing, 2019), p.11.
² Flood and Rosenthal Sloan, ibid, p.21.
³ ibid, p.25.
Edible Futures is a design brief that has been devised and written by Francesca Murialdo and Naomi House for the Interior Architecture programme at Middlesex University. The brief, in its different versions, according to the context and year group, has been used so far for year 2 and year 3 student and translated and adopted at Hong Kong University Space  and ICS College of Arts in Tokio.
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