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Designer Foodie

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Cathedral of Groceries: Food Emporium @ the Queensboro Bridge, Manhattan side

Why are designers often foodies? Louise Fili’s firm designs jam labels and the Goodhousekeeping seal of approval. Milton Glaser designed the Brooklyn Brewery logo and co-wrote the 1975 edition of The Cook’s Catalog. Paola Antonelli, curator of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote about the many shapes of pasta. Antiquarian cookbook storeowner, Bonnie Slotnick, has a Fashion Illustration degree from Parsons. It seems food and design live happily together. If you ask your designer friends about what they eat or where they buy their cheese or bread, I bet there’s a story behind their choices.

There are obvious explanations for this phenomenon. First, designers love objects and grocery stores have lots of objects—rows and rows of them, some lining shelves and others piled artfully in bins. Second, designers often care about the composition of things, and this applies to dining as well. They care about how their food tastes, what it looks like, and they probably want to know where it was made, what tools were used, and what ingredients were included. Third, designers recognize the cultural significance of food and may see food production as a captivating system and a model of how consumers are drawn to certain objects and products. Food and consumables have limited life spans, therefore the design of food and its production is a sped-up process of what happens to other products affected by obsolescence.

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Written by Sarah Froelich

September 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm