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Papila Food Design Exhibition

by Brian Fichtner
on 08 October 2009

During this year's Ideas y Pasión trade fair at the Feria Valencia, a new commercial show dedicated to kitchen design featured a wonderfully experimental exhibition entitled "Papila," curated by the Spanish designer Alberto Arza. A cultural initiative by the International Kitchen Design show, "Papila" featured two projects, "Food Design" and "The Nomadic Kitchen." The purpose was to explore the latest kitchen trends while stimulating discussion on innovative design. Of the two projects, "Food Design" was decidedly more intriguing for me. A departure from the traditional take on gastronomy, the project looks at ways in which food can be designed to communicate ideas and improve the experience of eating.


With the participation of an array of companies and institutions, "Food Design" brought together over 60 proposals from design schools and young designers throughout Spain. Generally speaking, the projects can be distilled into two categories: work with chocolate and work with bread. The chocolate designs were largely the result of the Aula Chocovic Workshop, the manufacturer Chocovic's training school for professionals. Arza's Chocolate Souvenirs (image at top), designed to replace useless trinkets with tasty ephemera, seemed ready for mass production. Perhaps the most intriguing concept was The Perfect Sandwich (above) by Ruth Perez and Xavier Flores from Like Fish in Water. Comprised of individual packets of chocolate, biscuit and sweet wafers, The Perfect Sandwich does away with the notion of pre-made cookie confections, allowing eaters to create their own ideal sweet treat.


The "Food Design" exhibit couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. With Spain's growing notoriety in the culinary arts—witness Ferran Adria's rise to stardom or Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow's recent romp around the countryside—Spanish designers are uniquely poised to speak of their culture through food. Other workshops represented by the exhibition included Fegreppa, the Bread and Patisserie Makers Guild of the Province of Valencia, the young designers' association Proyecta, the Balearic Islands Advanced School of Design, the Valencia Advanced School of Art and Design and the Aragon Advanced School of Design.


Indisputably, the most successful workshop results came out of the CEU (Cardinal Herrera University), with its presentation "Our Daily Bread," a workshop on the social aspects of bread, led by the talented Héctor Serrano. From Clara Blasco's Crack-y-Chof (above), a childlike take on bread as a boat, to Reyes Mora's practical combination of egg-cup and dipping tool (after the jump), the proposals reveal an infinite potential for the reinvention of bread.

Though "Papila" is a uniquely Spanish endeavor, we'd love to see a global project exploring the future of food design. How might some cultures interpret new forms for rice or pasta, fruits and vegetables, meats? While we anxiously await a published record of Arza's project, either in web or print form, we've gathered some pictures from the exhibition, along with a few individual projects, which you can view after the jump.

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