If I had to distill the work of Jinhyun Jeon into an easily digested one-liner, I’d go with: Jinhyun Jeon’s designs are the math rock of tableware. Or maybe: it’s industrial design meets complexity art crossed with slow food and neuroscience. OK, remember those Synesthetic Crayons? Well, synesthesia is back, and right in time to guilt you for snarfing Thanksgiving dinner like a mindless pig on autopilot!
Netherlands-based industrial, spatial and social designer Jinhyun Jeon is interested in visualizing taste. To become aware of the senses we use while eating and “analyze them from a different perspective as cross-wiring sensorial perceptions,” he created a map connecting taste sensations with visual interpretations. But it didn’t stop there. Inspired by synesthesia (the neurological condition where stimulus to one sense can affect one or more of the other senses), Jeon had an idea to engineer a richer dining experience:
My proposal is to show what we take for granted (when eating), and also perhaps, take for granted when designing. We design for our senses, but do we actually use our senses in the process? How much our senses come into play with every bite we take?
See, Jinhyun Jeon sees the “simple” gesture of taking a bite of food as a series of complex sensorial experiences.
When we see the food we are using our sight, when we cut the food or prod it with a fork, we hear the consistency of the food, when the food comes closer to our face, we smell it, and through putting it in our mouth we both feel and taste it.
This led Jeon to conclude that “the tableware we use for eating should not just be a tool for placing food in our mouth, but that it should become a sensorial appetizer, teasing our senses in the moment when the food is still on its way to being consumed.”
The designer continues:
Cutlery design focuses on getting food in bite-sized morsels from the plate to the mouth, but it could do so much more. Via exploring ‘synesthesia’ if we can stretch the borders of what tableware can do, the eating experience can be enriched in multi-cross-wiring ways. The tableware we use for eating should not just be a tool for placing food in our mouth, but it should become extensions of our body, challenging our senses even in the moment when the food is still on its way to being consumed.
There’s something David Cronenberg-esque about Jinhyun Jeon’s synesthetic tableware, and perhaps the goal is to have a ‘naked lunch’?
Jeon wrote up mathematical “tasty formulas” that I won’t even pretend I understand. But here’s the takeaway: mindful eating by conscious consumption leads to rediscovery of a healthy and joyful relationship with food. Who’s hungry for some Fro-Yo?!