Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Industrial Design


Industrial Design

First Advisor

Ayako Takase

Second Advisor

Alyzeh Rizvi


Mealtime is globally recognized as a time to gather, as food catalyzes connection. This project delves into this human practice of commensality and both explores and emphasizes the significance of communal eating and its benefits through designed objects. Through a collection of six designed dining experiments, this study examines the role of novel tabletop objects and unusually curated meal environments. The way these experiments are designed highlights how communal mealtime experiences can be used as tools for social engagement and disruptors of cultural norms.

Furniture and tableware designs have the power to challenge the assumed arrangement of traditional mealtime rituals, which is a belief that drives my design practice. We salivate over imaginative recipes and edible presentations, but when the physical form of the tablescape defies expectations, there is an arc of discovery that can change the social dynamics of the meal. Introducing unusual tools and materials disrupts a conventional mealtime atmosphere and challenges users to operate within a setting where they no longer know all of the rules.

Participants in this project include communities of students and young professionals from global backgrounds living in North America. From survey responses and user testing feedback, an accumulation of diverse cultural customs in the context of dining serves as the base inspiration for my designs.

This work includes designed objects, evocative environments, and repeated user testing and review - when there is food involved people are eager to participate. Through a series of immersive experiments and curated dining events, I orchestrate encounters with unconventional forms and materials, challenging participants to navigate unfamiliar terrain within the familiar context of shared meals. By observing the reactions and interactions within these experimental environments, I can dissect the underlying mechanisms that govern our responses to design interventions and cultural cues.Through this research, I aim to invigorate the conventions of shared dining experiences, where tabletop objects become instruments for meaningful connections.



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