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I haven’t been slacking, I promise guys.

So I’d hoped to whisk the curtain back on this, Steve Jobs-style, et voila! and show you something jaw-droppingly awesome.  Something I’ve had in my head since this started has been the design of my own servicepiece.  The pieces from Crucial Detail are just so damn awesome, and I wanted to try to come up with something worthy of this project.

I admit, though, that I know next to nothing about fabrication, and learning about it takes time. At the moment I’m sort of caught between wanting to stick to my guns and make something awesome, and wanting to keep forward momentum. But I’ll show a little of what I’ve thought up so far, none of which I’m particularly married to just yet. These mockups are all being done in 3d software.

I have some criteria that I’d like to stick to for this:
–I’d like the piece to be elegant and playful, in keeping with the rest of the Alinea style.
–It needs to be versatile, just as anything in Alinea might be. Versatile enough to be used for more than one application.
–Needs to be restaurant-safe. Servers need to be able to carry this thing up and down stairs and through crowded rooms easily.

I tend to think in the direction of what I know first, and what I know is that I have friends at work with CNC machines. So I figured something like this, milled from aluminum, would be straightforward to make. It also covers the versatility factor. But after a few hours of thinking about it, I think I’ve scrapped it because it’s kinda clunky and will look exactly like what it is: a shitty oversized ripoff of the salt/pepper pinch pots in restaurants all around Wellington:

So next I tried to just veer way outside the box. I think this is by far the most interesting design I’ve come up with, though it’s more or less completely unreasonable. The idea is several wires poke out of a heavy central metal hub. The wires have large weights at the end that cause them to bend outwards and down, forming a fountain-like arrangement. The weights themselves are attached to two pivot points, so they self-correct and form a small flat area on which one could place food. The entire arrangement deals with motion, balance, tension, and playfulness. It’s also not immediately-apparent what this thing is or does, which is a commonality with the rest of the Alinea serviceware.

There are tons of downsides to it though It’s too precarious for proper restaurant use. It’s not versatile at all (what if we want to serve a dish with only 2-3 bites, or with 9-10?).  Placement in front of the diner causes a problem when the diner wishes to reach for the food on the rear-facing weights.

I really like the vertical components to this, though, and also the idea of varying balance and a bit of precariousness. With a bit more thinking, I came up with this idea, which revolves around these articulated spoons:

The idea is that the spoons are presented vertically, but the bowl of the spoon can pivot, so it self-corrects as the diner picks up the spoon and pulls it to her mouth. This piece retains some playfulness and offers good versatility, though it’s a bit too immediately-understandable. There should be a bit of an exploration and discovery that happens in the time between the piece is set in front of the diner and when the bite is eaten. I’ve spoken with a few guys about how I might manufacture something like this, and it seems difficult. And the clock is ticking on this whole project, so I’m not sure where I’m going to head with this.