This dinnerware set confronts mealtime awkwardness through anthropomorphic gestures.

© Tyler Scholl

Om Nom was a response to a competition prompt from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The challenge invited entrants to design a set (4 pieces) of tabletop accessories that blended with the Alessi aesthetic, while fitting into the American market. Alessi is an Italian design company; famously known for taking mundane, overlooked objects, and injecting them with personality. Their purpose is often accentuated to create a more pleasing and personal experience.

I researched dinner broadly, studying differences and subtleties among small and large groups. I discovered a ritual practiced by families, more common during gatherings and large dinners, which involves holding each neighbor’s hand. This adjoining of hands is supplemented with mealtime prayer: the concept for the plates developed from this initial idea. While contemplating the future accompaniment of a cup and bowl, I observed people at dinner in restaurants. 

There are times you may see families arguing on the way into a restaurant, at the waiting area, and even at the dining table. Those quarrels would suddenly turn off as their waiter approached the table. Likewise, harmony would also arise during the time they ate. This was not a circumstance singular to a restaurant setting; it also spans to the home. One is often aware of this in their own life as well as those around them. I asked many individuals of their dynamic at dinner, not surprisingly hearing a similar story. I realized that although there is this polite ritual of holding hands during certain meals, the air is still filled with the disagreement in the kitchen, the argument in the car ride, and the never-ending resentment of past actions. This inspired me to reimagine the plates I had created. 

Instead of the plates holding onto each other gently, I saw them tugging at one another. Instinctually, I took a cup beside it and wanted to shove it into the two. I put my mind into this environment of displeasure, personifying the objects in front of me. I instantly envisioned a scene comparable to Fantasia, with plates yanking their friends in agony while cups and bowls gnawed them into submission. The set is white ceramic, with a glass cup. At first glance, the set looks harmless and straightforward. Once the user interacts with the pieces they soon discover the motif of the set and the character it brings to the table.

© Tyler Scholl

© Tyler Scholl