- CLIENTThe Shift Research
- CATEGORYFood X Technology
Imaginary Sweets is a project inspired by questioning how food can be newly experienced in a time of pandemics where new experiences through traveling are limited. The project intends to create a virtual food experience that can broaden the food possibilities beyond the physical limitations. Also, it aims to restore the communication between people through food, especially through sweets that always have the power to make people happy at any age. Through this project, we imagined how desserts can be newly displayed and experienced in the near future while incorporating different technologies.
Future Food Research
VIRTUAL + REALITY
Imaginary Sweets are designed to exist in both the physical and virtual worlds. Unlike the usual dessert-making process, they are first designed in a virtual world through Cinema 4D. The inner part of the dessert has motions that cannot be made in reality, unlike the exterior that has the same shape as the virtual part. After virtually designing the sweets, we replicated the sweets physically. In the process of creating the real dessert, there were some developments in designs, so that we redesigned the virtual sweets once again in order to make them look similar.
Imaginary Sweets are meant to be eaten while seeing the virtual dessert through the VR goggle. The virtual layer interacts with the physical dessert and how people taste the sweets that cannot be experienced any other way. The process of designing in both virtual and physical world gives us new perspectives.
For the virtual part of the Imaginary Sweets, we researched Japanese traditional confections; Wagashi. Based on its timeless designs and long history, we added future-perspective layers. The shape of the sweet is inspired by water, an ingredient that has ever-changing shapes. The fluid motion of water is used in the outer cube of the sweets with the bursting sphere that implies The Shift’s concept. The visual elements, shapes, movements, and colours aim to stimulate our sensors in a different way we traditionally experience food yet still appetizing.
By collaborating with a food designer based in Japan, "Mocomeshi", we realized the 3D modelings in real life. Based on the computer-generated videos and the images of the sweets, the ingredients, and the design were chosen. Kanten, which is the main ingredient for the Imaginary Sweets is carefully chosen for the water like visual and for the environment.
For the design, we have picked the most impactful scene from the virtual sweets' motion graphic and physically replicated the shapes. The commonness of the exterior shape connects the virtual and real by merging the visual sensations with the tactile sensations.
Interview with Mocomeshi
Q. Can you explain the process shortly?
(1) Create colored Kanten and cut them into small pieces.
(2) Wrap the chopped Kanten into sphere shapes using transparent Kanten liquid.
(3) Pour a clear Kanten into the mold and put in (2) before the Kanten hardens. Cool the Kanten down until it hardens.
(4) Take out (3) from the mold and cut them into cubes with a kitchen knife.
Q. How was the creation of Imaginary Sweets different from the other food making process?
The process was completely different from the starting point. (There was a clear visual image for the dessert.)
Q. Which part was the most difficult in the process?
The finishing process, such as cutting the perfect cube and making the surface smooth etc…
Working on this project, I wondered whether I was creating food or an object. It was an interesting experience.
I focused on creating the desert's "appearance" this time, so I would like to pursue the food aspect of the dessert such as taste and texture next time.
Our goal is to make the experiences of virtual dessert possible from anywhere in the world since traveling is limited in the time of pandemic. We have developed a virtual gallery and displayed the virtual desserts with posters in a unique gallery space. We aim to add another layer to the virtual food experience through virtual gallery.