Food & Design

In 3rd year at COFA, students have to undertake what is known as an Integrated Project, in which it is mandatory to apply skills from both their majors, in an attempt to prepare students for Final Year Project in 4th year.

The goal was to design a brief that addressed issues relating to food and sustainability with a strong focus on real-life scenarios and methodologies for application of design concepts.

Books such as Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon’s, “The 100-Mile Diet” and Tony Fry’s, “A New Design Philosophy: An Introduction to Defuturing” were recommended as good starting points for general research and idea generation.

The inspiration for my project was the The Slow Food Movement, founded by Carlo Petrini. In Petrini’s words, “Slow Food unites the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability and harmony with nature”. The organization operates from a grassroots level to harness the power of the individual(s) and the greater community, to think and act ethically and sustainably about the way we interact with our food. These ideas are not only poetic but incredibly powerful and are revolutionizing ideas about food on a global scale.

With a desire to infuse some of these concepts and ideologies into my brief, I decided to create a system encouraging human interaction that was facilitated by a designed object(s). This would, in effect, reflect the notion of ‘power in numbers’ and hopefully initiate a dialogue amongst a group of individuals, strangers no less, about sustainable food consumption.

The concept in more detail:

“Slow Advertising – Exploring Concepts Around Food & Sustainability”

My project was centered around a community of Slow Food supporters in Chippendale, Sydney. As this movement is already popular for its sustainable food practices and the community are staunch supporters of the Slow Food philosophy, the emphasis was on expanding the existing Chippendale community. My proposed solution was a promotional campaign that focused on the concept of ‘slow advertising’.

My target demographic were young people between the ages of 20-25 years living and/or working in Paddington, Surry Hills and Chippendale. The aim of slow advertising was to educate the younger population of more sustainable food practices and encourage them to make small changes in their daily activities.

The Slow Advertising campaign consisted of a series of hand-made postcards (both cardboard and fabric with original photography and imagery) that portray a Slow Food timeline. They featured activities that could be carried out in a day, to some that required a few weeks or months, and others that would take a year or more. The postcards were designed to be friendly, interactive and undemanding and offer simple suggestions to help younger people establish a deeper bond with the food they consume. The ultimate aim was to swap unsustainable eating practices with sustainable ones, and in the process foster community well-being by encouraging traditional food practices such as slow cooking, communal eating and community gardening.


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