↘Design and food come together in this TABULA[non]RASA.
The table is an object symbol of sharing, of aggregation and conversation, especially in Italy where food itself plays an extremely social function. A meeting point, where gathering with a brutal awareness though: personal responsibility cannot be ignored and strategies for the future cannot start from scratch. We must start from what exists, physically, always. A TABULA [non] RASA therefore, which embodies the principle of a new paradigm, being made in all its parts from scraps and food waste. A table, made up of a series of independent tables which are at the same time complementary: a set of individuals that together become a larger entity - basically a society. Is it a suspended dinner or one that has yet to begin? It’s both. It is an end and also a beginning, but above all it is a transformation. Of matter and mindset. Tableware made with food scraps and organic materials, created by international designers, enliven the conversation, describing us a new circular logic and bringing back the focus to research.
TABULA[non]RASA is a declaration of intent.
It is a commitment.
It is a duty.
The use of organic waste for the creation of new materials that could replace traditional ones is only one of the possible paths that must be urgently explored. It is a way of relating two separate problems, which together have the capacity to produce reciprocal solutions, and at the same time to generate positive effects on a social, economic and environmental levels. Finding alternatives to the exploitation of limited resources became in the last decade, one of the most explored field of research perhaps, but as far as the construction sector is concerned, the change must be more radical, given the complicated network of relationships that connects this specific field to the rest of society and its economic actors. To make this large-scale transition possible, it is necessary to rethink all the mechanisms of the architectural practice, construction, design, planning, but also (and above all) project financing, governance, legislative and economic agents, institutions. While it is necessary to encourage the development and growth o alternative practices, there should be, on the other hand, a discouragement of unsustainable ones, such as the excessive mobility of goods. Every professional working in this sector need to be ready to question their role in society. And this questioning must result in an in-depth study of the entire complex mechanism of all the parts revolving around architecture, and society in general. How to modify each component in order to produce a different model of development, where the ultimate goal is not the immeasurable accumulation of capital but a society in balance with itself and with the planet? Technology is now totally intertwined with all aspects of our existences, therefore the approach should, on one hand, look at geotechnologies, while developing, on the other hand, geopolitical frames, in order to make sure our future metabolic loops would actually be socially viable In this context, a different kind of institutions would be needed, one that could operate at a planetary scale. The idea of a Non-Extractive Architecture, which questions the acceptance of the creation of externalities* is now a necessary paradigm. Although it will take time, which is necessary to imagine new development models and acquire new habits, the invitation to discuss them and to outline different solutions must happen now. The role that design must have from now on, should be to translate emerging environmental awareness into informed and collaborative responses. Personal responsibility is always the first step towards any form of change, which is why we felt it is important to turn our attention, and yours, to this issue.
The table top is made with MOGU, an innovative bio-organic material consisting of a composite made with bio-based resin and low-value biomass, such as corn crops, rice straw, spent coffee grounds, waste algae and shells.
Designers and company that are currently exploring new materials realized from food waste and that are partecipating to the project are:
BASSE STITTGEN | CRAFTING PLASTICS! | EMMA SICHER | MALAI |
MIDUSHI KOCHHAR | MOGU | NEWTAB-22 | ORANGE FIBER | REPULP | RICEHOUSE
Each year, about 20% of the FOOD produced in the world for human consumption (around 931 million tons) is lost or wasted. Let’s understand this a bit better ... Imagine a fully loaded 40 ton (40,000 kg) truck. Now imagine 23 million of these trucks If placed in single line they make up a ribbon 7 times long the diameter of the earth (more or less 264,000 km). The weight of those 23 million vehicles is equal to that of all the food that EVERY year, globally, is wasted or thrown away. Every year about 30% of the waste produced by the entire EU comes from the world of DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE and CONSTRUCTION. We continue to extract and produce in a linear TAKE-MAKE-WASTE system that operates according to the clearly obsolete assumption that considers the planet an infinite source of resources. An interesting fact is that most of the food waste occurs inside our homes. Of the total of approximately 931 million tons of waste produced, 61% occurs in the private household, 26% in catering and food service and 13% in retail. It is therefore personal behaviours (certainly induced by a consumerist society) that must be reviewed. The constant quest for novelty and the magnified consumption of the latest trends produced by our own capitalist system, have actively encouraged excessive resource extraction and uncontrolled overproduction, which largely contributes to the creation of an everincreasing number of waste. Most of the current “bio-valorisation” of food waste generates low to medium value products such as biogas
and compost. Given the impressive volume, wouldn’t it be interesting if the organic waste of our cities could provide the raw material for high value products, thus contributing to the construction of a new paradigm based on a zerowaste circular economy? Design has always played a fundamental role in facilitating alternative visions, promoting narrative changes and describing future scenarios in which new ideas settles into new habits. Waste is abundant and cheap, traditional resources are limited and expensive. What if we could turn the problem into the solution? What if waste became our new resource?