Product Design

Jam 'n' Bread

Summary


Jam ‘n’ Bread aims to bring people back to the dinner table and make mealtime a fun and social event again. Studies show that traditional family-style dinners are becoming less common in American households, despite their many benefits for family relationships. Even households that participate in regular group dinners, such as student co-ops, require a precise synchronization in timing between individuals to make them happen.

Inspired by the shared (if perhaps ephemeral) sense of togetherness that musicians experience when playing music together, Jam ‘n’ Bread introduces touch-sensitive instrumental sounds and lighting to tableware in order to encourage people to “play with their food,” take a break from their busy day, and enjoy a meal together.

This project was created during UC Berkeley's Critical Making course. Our task was to investigate the kitchen and design a novel kitchen object. Our object had to be motivated by the cultural activities of the kitchen provide a new narrative there. You can view the full report here.

Research

We visited a co-op to research cooking with a large environment of people. We found that while cooking in large groups, there are always a few people that aren't doing anything. They're basically in the way. We made a basic vegetable stir fry while listening to music in the background. Afterwards, we ate together. Through this experience, we realized that music could be a large part of the kitchen and dining together is difficult especially with the schedules of busy students.

Design Decisions

  • We decided to design our own plates using acrylic and plywood because we wanted our plates to appear in the same collection, but yet we wanted each plate to have their own unique style. Each plate has a unique engraving and instrument to encourage people to come together at the dining table.
  • The aesthetic of the plate is modeled after the design of a record. The arcs mirror the visual symbol for vibration or music.
  • We also purposely displayed the wires to show off the hardware embedded within the plate.
  • The plates are not wireless to encourage everyone to eat together in order for the plates to function.