Designers Caterina Vianna and Ferran Gesa are founding a new kind of studio – one that’s designing furniture for food. Benditas, their Barcelona-based studio, develops products and furniture that are actively engaged with food. After hearing about projects that focused on themes like “furniture for public spaces” or “furniture for the living area,” Vianna and Gesa realized that while products have been designed for people to use, they haven’t been designed for food itself. They started observing the relationship – or rather, the lack of a relationship – between food and furniture in restaurants, and they began searching for a way to connect food with its environment.
Benditas’ most recent project – Brot – was designed for the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Brot acts as both a lamp and a germinator, growing food as it lights up your home. The light fixture doesn’t just merge two separate products; it puts them in dialogue with one another. A stainless steel tray inside the lamp reflects light and warmth back onto the plants, helping them grow while also providing light for a room. Vianna and Gesa told MOLD that when working on the lamp, they began questioning the way furniture was classically made. Citing a shift in how we interact with our homes, they pointed out that “traditionally, the table is meant for eating, the sofa for resting, and the chair for sitting. In contrast, nowadays we work in the dining room, we eat on the sofa, and we take naps on chairs.” This reflection prompted the dual functionality of Brot.
Brot’s emphasis on life and light is further highlighted through the design of its form; as the designers from Benditas thought about how to develop a product for the Furniture and Light Fair, they focused on “bringing the light, shapes, and crafts of the Mediterranean to Scandinavia.” This light, Mediterranean aesthetic is mimicked through Brot’s warmly-colored, terracotta exterior, manifesting what the designers define as the “mood of the Mediterranean.”
In addition to designing Brot, Benditas hopes to work with restaurants and catering companies to create eating environments that are more connected to the food and people they contain. The studio’s past project “Pirine,” works on building this relationship between space, food, and diner. Rather than consisting of a single product, Pirine is a set of designs that are not only used to serve Pyrenees food, but are also reminiscent of Pyrenees culture and aesthetics. This set of kitchen and serving implements demonstrates what Benditas means by creating a relationship between food and its environment.