The ChocolaTexture Experience

One of the highlights of my visit to Maison & Objet this year was undoubtedly the ChocolaTexture Lounge by Nendo….  I know.. I know… Oki Sato of Nendo is very much dominating the design and fashion scenes right now with his various collaborations with everyone from furniture manufacturers such as Cappelini to fashion houses such as Tod’s and Hermes… and I am a fan of their work… I love the playful yet minimalist approach to all their design projects whether they be interiors, products or this time… food…

ChocolaTexture by Nendo

Can the power of design exert influence on our senses and experience of food to the extent of changing its flavour, by manipulating its texture?  A challenging question for any designers to ponder…  Even more challenging is how to create an interior to communicate this concept?  How does one make the visitors feel the texture of chocolate through spatial design?

ChocolaTexture Lounge by Nendo

With over 2000 8mm diameter aluminium rods painted with colours that represented a gradation of chocolate as the enclosure of choice, light frothy fields of molten chocolate waves were formed all around the white lounge space.  Sparsely scattered within this forest of chocolate waves, were ChocolaTexture furnitures….  chocolate coloured chairs and tables selected from Nendo’s design repetoire for Italian manufacturers such as Cappellini, Moroso, Offect, Desalto, Emeco and Glas Italia for their soft, melty chocolate-y feel… 

Chocolate Chairs by Nendo
Chocolate Chairs in Chocolate Field

The lounge was not a cafe nor a shop, but… well… a lounge!  A resting area with the only beverage available being coffee and the only food available being Nendo’s ChocolaTexture chocolate cubes, so I was a little bit surprised and disappointed at the same time that there was no hot chocolate available.  Surely, liquid chocolate should count towards what type of chocola-texture? No?  The little experimental gems of chocolate cubes were more than made up for my disappointment though…  For me, it was not just the concept of the designer’s attempt to manipulate the flavours of chocolate by designing their textures that was intriguing….  It was also the fact that this was my first time eating a 3D printed food as well!

Given that all of the chocolate pieces were created from the same recipe, and were of the same size, i.e. a cube of 26mm wide, the different textures did actually affect the experience of eating them…  I would not go to the extent of saying that the flavour was affected though, the flavour was more or less the same, but the experience of ingesting them and the time it took to eat each piece were different and quite intriguing.  “Toge-Toge” (a sharp shape with points), for example, was rather awkward to ingest… I couldn’t really chew it because the pointy points kept hurting the insides of my mouth, so had to leave it to melt instead which took ages…  One the other hand, I could hardly taste “Poki-Poki” (a framework shape with a periphery consisting of lines) at all because they was so little of the actual chocolate!!  It was like playing a little game with chocolate by myself…  I felt like a child again!

Boxes of ChocolaTexture on display at ChocolaTexture Lounge

The result?  Well, I really felt like sitting in a field of chocolates…  Completely surrounded by a cocoon of soft, smooth, frothy, and calming space with a small burst of excitements at every angle… and in my stomach too!  By the time I left the lounge, I was completely distracted with the chocolate that all thoughts of fatigue were completely forgotten…  One could say that it was the perfect ending to a full day walk…

The Chocolate Waves at ChocolaTexture Lounge

If you are coming to Maison & Objet this week, I highly recommend a visit to ChocolaTexture Lounge in Hall 8 of Maison & Objet!

For more information on Nendo, please see http://www.nendo.jp

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