Is designing our ideal carrot or aubergine science fiction? Food and Concept Designer Chloé Rutzerveld shows her view on the future of food production in Impulse, the meeting centre on Wageningen Campus.
Thanks to years of scientific research, the food industry knows exactly which environmental factors such as light, temperature and humidity are important to give vegetables the desired taste, colour and nutritional values. Rutzerveld was amazed to see that minute changes can be used to guide the growth of a plant and wondered what else would be possible.
Thus was born the idea for the interactive Future Food Formula installation. Rutzerveld developed the installation together with studio RNDR.
It allows people to experiment and create a new variation of a plant. Purple or orange? Spicy or mild? With added vitamin C? Everything is possible: ‘You enter the data using the tablet and immediately see the results of your changes on-screen. For example, if you add more red light, the plant will grow for a longer time. It is fascinating to see what you can create by using nature, without the use of genetic modification of crops.’
Science and fantasy
Rutzerveld also spoke with various WUR researchers and noticed that scientists obviously have a different view on things due to their knowledge. The drive behind many of her projects is a question to which she wants to know the answer, upon which she starts experimenting and exploring what is possible. ‘Sometimes it fails, but on other occasions, it results in innovative ideas.’
She likes to fantasise about the future of our food. Her projects combine design, science and technology, often with the aim of making food or the food system healthier, more sustainable and more efficient. ‘I mainly want to show what is possible and build a bridge between the consumer and science.’
Communicating through food
In this process, she sees food as a means of communication to make new technologies and important issues accessible: ‘Science is often the starting point of my projects. I really enjoy working with WUR. I think it is important for universities to realise that designers can do more than just draw furniture. Images are becoming increasingly important in communication. People have little time, and everything has to be done quickly. Give me a scientific article and I will turn it into a nice visual story.’