Not sure how 2014 is treating you, but here in New York it’s COLD outside! To help keep us warm we decided to dedicate this month’s column to… you guessed it, RAMEN.
Whether waiting on line at Totto Ramen in Hell’s Kitchen, or gathering all the ingredients to make one from scratch at home, it’s undeniable how an umami blast of broth and noodles can make everything OK.
But wait, this is not just another article about ramen, its origins and several ways to “take it to the next level,” whatever that means. This is Design Milk. We want to dive into how the world’s chicken noodle soup with endless cultural combinations of flavors and textures, is influencing the design industry.
But in case you’re looking for a few fun facts, here is an infographic to catch you up to speed.
Now that that’s out of the way, here are some of our favorite inspiring design contributions to the kinky-noodle-eating world…
First, Julian Lechner’s Soup Sticks - chopsticks that are also straws. A functional product aimed at improving the eating experience by allowing solids and liquids to be easily consumed with a single implement.
Auckland-based artist Seung Yul Oh sculpts a series of traditional Korean dishes from silicone and resin. Adapting both cultural and culinary influences, he creates varying lengths of strands and types of noodles — hanging 12 feet from the surface of the floor. The noodles stretch from space and dangle down into pots and bowls filled with modeled vegetables and broth. The hyper-realistically crafted egg yolks, carrots, seafood, and meats seemingly extrude from the faux-liquid, materializing as actual ingredients drifting in the dish. A pair of chopsticks float at the sculpture’s crown, creating a surrealistic illusion that the elongated fine fibers are weightlessly hanging in mid-air.
Industrial designer Sherwood Forlee’s Sink Bowl is an ingenious crockery item devised for eating instant ramen. When you get to the point where you are frantically chasing just a few noodles swimming around in an ocean of broth, simply pop the plug in the top bowl and the soup drains into the bottom bowl, leaving you with just the remaining noodles. The hole is just thin enough to let your soup drain but prevent your noodles from escaping. The bowl also deals with the thorny issue of soggy cereal – no one likes mushy cornflakes for breakfast. With this bowl, simply allow your milk to soak your cereal for the requisite time and then pull the plug and drain.
“3 minute bangle” by Masao Takahashi. Made with instant noodles, cashew lacquer, and resin.
Aissa Logerot’s SpoonPlus is a utensil hybrid that functions as both a spoon and a set of chopsticks. It’s easy to use as well; simply slip the head of the spoon attachment onto the front of the chopsticks and now you’ve got a functional scooper in your grasp. Suppose you want to revert back to the traditional utensil, just take it off and you can use the spoon as a vessel for sauce.