Why Designers Should Care About the Future of Food


Below is a preview of the stories from MOLD Magazine, Issue 01 on Designing the Human Microbiome, and some inspiration from the online platform to whet your appetite for future issues. The crowdfunding campaign is live. Help support the first magazine about design and the future of food.

IKEA x IDEO’s Kitchen of the Future

When the biggest design retailer in the world throws its weight behind rethinking the kitchen, the concepts that emerge are always interesting. The prototype for the Concept Kitchen 2025 touched on four main themes: storage, waste, water and cooking. The overall vision felt like a cohesive imagining of the near future where daily drone delivery of groceries, grey water management and municipal fees for disposal of waste are the norm.

Slow Tools for Small Scale Farmers

As with most challenges, having the right tool for the job can be the critical difference between failure and success. With the rise of industrial agriculture in the United States in the ’60s, the market for new technologies and tools for small scale producers all but disappeared. Now that is about to change. A group of farmers, engineers and manufacturers have been actively developing, advocating for and distributing Slow Tools—appropriately scaled, lightweight, affordable and open-source tools for small scale farmers.

New agriculture systems will be the focus of MOLD Magazine Issue 05.

Toilet Technology

Inside a non-descript building an hour outside of Tokyo, employees of the world’s largest toilet manufacturer strap into an empathy suit. This exoskeleton, constructed of engineered medical braces which add weight to joints and constrict one’s range of motion, mimics the physical struggles of elderly consumers. Frosted glass lenses are donned to simulate vision impairment in an elaborate exercise for design research. Established in 2002, TOTO’s Universal Design Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (UD Center), is a monument to decades of research-driven product development and the only facility of its kind. Here, the future of our most intimate products is being written and MOLD gets an exclusive interview with TOTO’s design team for Issue 01.

Farming Insects in Your Kitchen

The reality is that we will all need to eat more varied sources of protein in the near future. Whether you’re into beans or bugs, designers will be critical in the effort to transform new typologies for food into desirable products for consumption. Enter Livin Studio. The Hong Kong-based industrial design practice launched the first countertop farm for mealworms last year to much acclaim. Their work is a strong example as to how designers, with their human-centered approach, can create elegant, useful and seamless products for the future of food.

New agriculture systems will be the focus of MOLD Magazine Issue 05. 

A Car Powered by a Cow Stomach

Imagine a car that runs on methane. Inspired by the multiple stomachs of cows, YiWen Tseng considered the myriad possibilities for a future where bio-printed organs and biomimicry collide. Globally, industrial cattle farming contributes more towards global warming than all cars combined. 

The shape of each of the stomachs is designed to strengthen its original bio-function and replace the function of muscles in the original cow. Tseng designed the “Digestive Car” to create a self-sufficient, alternative fuel that captures biowaste and reuses it to help “green the world.” 

The Digestive Car is featured in MOLD Magazine, Issue 01. 

Back the campaign that will help make MOLD Magazine a reality—learn more about MOLD and how you can support their launch on their Kickstarter page





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