“Food is the most universal language of design”*

At the most basic level, designers reconfigure objects to bring out their aesthetic, utilitarian, and/or meaningful qualities. These objects, more often than not, are for necessary, everyday use and nothing is more necessary than food, nothing more everyday than Jell-O.

Yes, Jell-O. What was once a dessert of jiggling, artful decadence has now been rendered flat or at most, a wiggling cube on a Styrofoam tray at the end of a buffet line to be picked up by some nostalgic lunch patron. This isn’t good enough for an American icon!

In these somber times of restraint, of reigning in and reallocating, we need a resurgence of steady wobble that won’t let us down. In short, it’s time for a comeback of the Jell-O proportions of old: soaring heights, strange colors, object suspension! Jell-O is the perfect medium for design reinvention given its versatility, economy, and availability. To this end, we are asking designers to take Jell-O out of the cafeteria and break the mold, as it were, on Jell-O molds.

Paola Antonelli, introduction to 1:1 Martí Guixé, ed. Ed van Hinte (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2002). Ms. Antonelli is the Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


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