Foodjects: Art on the Table

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There's a stylish home goods store in downtown DC called Apartment Zero, the kind of place where I like to window-shop and dream of purposefully chosen domestic decor. (My current stuff is quite eclectic, but not in the stylish sense—more like an unfortunate yard sale.)

This week I noticed something in their window that intrigued me even more than usual. It looks like a poster for an art exhibit, titled: "Foodjects: Design & Cuisine in the New Spain."

Inside the store, a long table appears prepared for a banquet, laden with various vessels and gadgets related to eating and drinking. Each piece has a unique and whimsical element in its design, something that compels you to exclaim "cool!" much more often than is generally considered, well, cool.

There are dishes with sensuous curves and asymmetric flourishes, forks with tattoos, and teacups with handles shaped like a horse's leg. There's a spoon with a tip cut like a calligraphy pen, to "write" in chocolate and other sauces, and a colorful silicone envelope made for steaming fish. Many items, like the spoon with a clothespin-like handle (used to hold aromatic herbs, so your sense of taste can be enhanced by your sense of smell as you eat), were designed by legendary chef Ferran Adria for his Faces collection, and are used in his El Bulli restaurant on the Catalan coast of Spain.

I was especially taken with the "coporron," a wine glass with a teapot-like spout protruding from one side, designed by Martin Ruiz de Azúa (the exhibit's curator) and Gerard Moline. The woman working in the store explained that it's meant to be a hybrid of an individual glass (copa) and a communal Catalan wine pitcher called a porrón. You can sip normally, or you can pour a stream of wine directly into your mouth from above.

And "Foodjects" itself is a sort of hybrid. It's a touring exhibit of work by Spanish designers (sponsored by the Embassy of Spain), but many of the items are also for sale. It's only at Apartment Zero for a few more days, through June 7th, and will then move on to other cities including Miami, Los Angeles and New York.

I also fell in love with the "landscape" dishware by Patricia Urquiola, which turns simple white china into something exciting by combining different textured patterns with just a hint of roughness on the edges.

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