On eating and drinking

An interview with silversmith and philosopher Andreas Fabian.

Andreas Fabian, spoonglass. Food and photo Roberto Cortez

Andreas Fabian, spoonglass. Food and photo Roberto Cortez

For thousands of years artist metalworkers, ceramists, glass blowers and other artisans have put a lot of research and work into making eating and drinking as pleasant as possible. As a result of their efforts practical instruments and perfected forms have emerged. Still today designers and craftspeople devote themselves to fine dining and cooking culture – in inventive, humorous and also provocative ways. Find out more in the next autumn issue of Art Aurea, being released at the end of August. The following interview with silversmith and philosopher Andreas Fabian will give you a foretaste.

Art Aurea What is important to you personally as a consumer when eating and drinking today?

Andreas Fabian I have never been a great fan of cooking and I wouldn’t call myself a gourmet either, however my collaboration over the years with two internationally acclaimed chefs, Roberto Cortez and Charles Michel, opening my eyes and taste buds to a wonderful world where my objects became part of a whole symphony of culinary experiences where content, use and form became one.

AA Why do you concentrate on this topic in your work?

AF Perhaps my heightened curiosity for tableware stems in part from my crafts background.
It seems natural to me to focus on designing and making objects for the dining table. What defines these objects is that they require handling and use – physical interaction, which raises issues of social interaction, manners and etiquette.
To understand the ways in which our eating habits are determined by culture as well as by nature remains the driving force behind my work.

AA Please tell us the benefit or advantage of your work – sensual, spiritually or practically?

AF All our five primary senses are involved in the act of eating. The senses and the interaction between them affect our perception of food and shape our dining experience. As it is today, cutlery and social etiquette seem to be taking away pleasure from food, rather than adding to it. It would be difficult to deny that some of the most delicious food experiences often come from eating with our bare hands, sucking our fingers or even licking the plate. The more recent objects created in collaboration with Charles Michel intend to bring us closer to the food, enhance the sensual experience of dining and some of them refer directly to our hands as eating utensils but in an elegant way. E.g. the tongs refer to the thumb and the index finger as our natural implement for picking up solid foods – the hand bowl refers the hands as vessels. The vessel has a slightly pointed base; hence its function can only be fulfilled when held in the hand. Through the sense of touch, in the palm of the hand, the user experiences sensations of weight, form, surface and temperature. The spoon plate only fulfils its function when the food is licked from the object.