|Marti Guixe (copyright knolke/Imagekontainer)|
For Marti Guixe, a world-renowned designer, food is an object that has to be carefully designed and contextualized to enhance its usability and consumption for the mass.
In an interview with The Korea Herald, Guixe, who has been designing food since the 1990s, said food design is beyond art that has to converge different fields of knowledge and studies to create its concepts and ideas.
Designers need to consider various political, socioeconomic and ergonomic factors to boost the performance, meaning and experience of food products, he added.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, and Berlin, Germany, Guixe has been designing food for global companies and worked as an adviser in Seoul, Korea. Following is an excerpt of his interview with The Korea Herald. – Ed.
KH: You cover a wide range of areas, varying from commercial design, publication, food and many others. What is the core philosophy that brings all these different fields together, under the name of Marti Guixe?
Guixe: Basically it is because I am designing concepts and ideas, therefore the material part and the technical one. It is organized through the project, and that’s why it is possible to go into different fields. It is really a different approach to design.
KH: How do you define food design?
Guixe: Food design is the design of food. This is clear, but more specific: “Food design is the design of food which is thought, perceived, contextualized, ritualized, implemented and consumed as an object.”
KH: How did you, as a designer, take an interest in food as a design material?
Guixe: In the middle of the 1990s as every young industrial designer, I was very interested in mass production objects, and I realized that food was in a way mass produced, and mass consumed, but not perceived as an object. When people see food they think just food. I then took food and applied the design project into it, creating something completely new and an edible object.
KH: Eating implies a number of contexts -- taking nutrition for survival, sharing food for social purposes, and savoring it for gastronomy’s sake. Which aspect matters the most to you?
Guixe: I just design it. It means, if you do a good and contemporary design project, you have to take a lot of factors into consideration: ergonomics, usability, social and economic factors, and the industrial process if it proceeds as well as the ecological issues, and of course the more technical parts, such as taste, texture, smell and sound. There is also a big issue related to health, not only in the prepared food but also in the ingredients -- the way they are grown and transported, and from where, it is mostly a political thing. The aspect that matters the most for me is the one related to design, which means to create a good product for the user, for the person who will use and eat it.
KH: In a recent interview, you said that food design should evolve, in step with social changes. Does this mean that in the ever-complex modern society, food design should change as to make meals easier? How should food design adapt itself to the fast-changing society?
Guixe: It seems food is a very traditional element. It has not changed, and if it changed, it was for worse. We are in a society in which food is very important as it is one or the only thing that connects us to reality, all the other aspects such as social relations, work, amusement, communication, etc. We can do it from the computer or telephone interfaces, it means virtual. Food stays the only real thing we need. It is but not coherent with our changing society, which evolved much with the new technologies. But food did not evolve, although there are new foods, the concept stays old, and does not fit our contemporary lifestyles.
KH: Korean consumers are spending an increasing amount of time, money and effort in finding themselves tastier, healthier food. The aesthetic part of food, on the other hand, is often considered less important. How do you balance these different factors – taste, nutrition and design of food?
Guixe: I don’t think design is only based on aesthetics. It is based also on functions, in the way you use and you eat it, where and how you decide to eat it. Therefore, taste and nutrition are technical parts of the design project, and taste from the gastronomy expertise and nutrition from the nutritional doctors are both implemented in the object to be designed.
KH: “Food will become our society’s most designed, desired and meaningful object,” you once said. Could you elaborate on this statement?
Guixe: Basically, as I said before, food stays the only needed real object, while the rest of functions can be virtual. Therefore, if food is an object, then can be full of meanings and experiences, if it is well designed.
KH: By adding the design factor to food, a rather unconventional object, you created a new integrated field of design industry. Is there any other sector that you would like to set foot in?
Guixe: Yes, I am doing a lot of business model design, which is this idea of bringing my different fields into one project.
By Park Hyong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org)