Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Review

The Future Laboratory

When it comes to what you eat, are you a zeno-youth, an extreme connoisseur, a food thrift, an armchair explorer, an ethical eater, or a cultural chaser? Presented as typologies of eaters, the relationship between food and identity is just one of the myriad of topics touched upon in crEATe, a recent volume by Gestalten presenting the research of the Future Laboratory, a British trend forecasting firm. Looking at subjects such as the “politics of the plate” and presenting profiles of “food activists” like Dutch eating designer Marije Vogelzang (see issue 12 for our review of her recent book, Eat Love), this book covers almost every aspect of food and eating-related design through a comprehensive examination of meaning of food in our lives and in contemporary design. It follows trends such as rising food prices, eco-labelling, positive purchasing and the phenomena of slow food and smart food. It also looks at the design of eating spaces and packaging, which is expected to be “sustainable, convenient, economic, protective, attractive, novel, smart and reactive: What we expect today from the packaging around our food reads like a dating service profile.” As described in its introduction, crEATe “is a book about people as viewed through the lens of...eating designers, food products and rituals...the one thing it is not,” the authors add, “is a cookbook.”

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