Can the shape, texture and colour of cutlery change the way food tastes? Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Jinhyun Jeon created this set of knobbly, bulbous and serrated cutlery to stimulate diners’ full range of senses at the table.
Jinhyun Jeon, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, made Tableware as Sensorial Stimuli as part of her MA thesis about the relationship between food and the senses.
The project was inspired by the phenomenon of synesthesia, a neurological condition in which stimuli like taste, colour and hearing are affected and triggered by each other. People with synesthesia often report seeing a certain colour when they hear a particular word, for example.
To find out whether this “sensory cross-wiring” could be encouraged and used to enhance taste, Jeon created cutlery based on five sensory elements:
- tactility (texture)
- volume and weight,
The ceramic pieces shown below explore the effects of colour, with various coloured glazes defining the tips of each implement. Warm colours such as red and orange are supposed to increase appetite, says Jeon, and are most effective when used sparingly. [Some of the ceramic pieces also explore the effects of bumpy-textured undersides and unexpected shapes/volumes.]
Other pieces are made from stainless steel, silver or plastic, and the various textures and shapes are intended to stimulate the sense of touch inside the mouth.
The plastic pieces resemble glass, which creates a jarring sensation for the user when the item’s appearance is incongruous with its feel. ”We tend to believe our sight and touch would be the same, but this is not the whole story,” says Jeon.
"The tools I created make us focus on each bite, feel the enriched textures or enhanced chewing sounds between bites," she told Dezeen. "If we can stretch the borders of what tableware can do, the eating experience can be enriched."