A picnic in the most traditional sense is a meal eaten en plein air, ideally in lush grass surrounded by a beautiful landscape. It’s been a meal romanticized by the likes of Manet and Seurat, further appropriated with iconic red and white checkered tablecloths. But what is a picnic for those surrounded by a built environment of concrete and steel, in a state of constant communication and flux?
Madrid-based architecture and design studio Atelier TERATOMA asked itself this question and defines the urban picnic with Technopicnic, a collection of modern day picnic backpacks for the urbanite. The centerpiece of the prototypes is an astronaut-inspired backpack system that folds out into a table with hairpin legs accompanied by sitting pillows.
On one side, the table houses an assemblage of digital needs: a pair of speakers for an impromptu party, USB hubs to charge mobile devices, a screen to receive messages via Bluetooth, and most importantly, a solar panel to power it all. Technopicnic is a combination of the past and future; the cup holders and tray are a stylistic nod to the 90’s Coleman Cooler, while all its technological gizmos look to the future of dining outdoors.
The imaginative studio’s other prototypes are less technological but they don’t make the backpack feel any less appropriate for the city square that it was designed for.
“We believe that today the natural setting for a picnic should be the epicenter of the city: the square,” the partners explain. The black and white marble slabs, that can be strapped on as backpacks, fold out with hairpin legs to become a small picnic table for an elegant meal. The simplicity and compactness of the table is designed for the modern day urban dweller.