RCA babes: James Stoklund

A utensil is not just a utensil

Everyone knows the feeling of having a spoon in their mouth or the sound of a fork against the plate; these are experiences we have known since we were born.

The collection of tableware is inspired by my own joy for functional things. And it is this joy I want to pass on to others. E.g. I have found a great spoon for eating my oats in the morning, which has the perfect cup size for the ideal mouthful of oat. This is a good example of a spoon that is not just a spoon, but a utensil underlining and enhancing a dinning experience. Hence, a specific dish should be delivered with the right utensil; the food, its texture and taste should be incorporated in the design of a utensil.
I try to adopt a problem solving approach to my design: I have found it annoying not being able to get all food from a ceramic plate; you keep on scraping with a spoon or fork but there will always be leftovers on the plate. Thus my idea for the plate “Lick it clean” appeared to help you scoop up all the food.

Simultaneously, the idea for the glass “shake that booty”, emerged to help aerate spirits during the drinking experience whilst the rubbery egg cup is inspired by the annoying one-size-fits-all egg cups you normally buy at shops. Eggs come in different sizes, but industrially produced eggcups do not and the rubbery eggcup allows for different egg sizes. At the same time, when I initially pushed an egg through the silicone, I found the movement to reflect the way a hen lays an egg, which for me was very satisfying.

In addition to having graduated from Royal College of Art, I have a background in Silversmithing and have produced expensive silver tableware for many years. I have experienced people acquire tableware only to put it in a cupboard even though it has been produced carefully to serve a function. Due to this experience, I decided to produce objects people want to use or objects that attract people to use them.

Most of the tableware we use today has had its look since the 17th century. E.g. the fork as we know it today, has had its looks for 300 years. Compared to the evolution of food, the evolution of tableware is protracted and needs to fit the current food trends. Who says the design of knife and fork are the most efficient for our contemporary society, when it has not been challenged for so many years? Everyone knows the feeling of having a spoon in their mouth or the sound of a fork against the plate; these are experiences we have known since we were born. However, most of us do not question the function of these everyday life utensils and what a simple change can do.

 

Thus the design needs innovation and development in order to activate people eating. The dinner experience has been passivated, neglected and appears mechanical without social context. New and innovative eating tools can challenge the eaters and the traditional perception of tableware.
I create functional objects for the tabletop that surprise and manipulate people’s normal actions or conceptions to enrich the experience of dining. I challenge the traditional way we eat or pick up food but at the same time consider the food and its consistency in a playful way. My intent with this series of tableware is not to give the users an experience, but hopefully a better dinner experience, different from what they are used to.

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