December 2012

December 2012

A Passion to Inspire
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Plating at the International Chefs Congress: Dimensions and Redefinitions


When Chicago-based Chef Grant Achatz contacted Designer Martin Kastner in 2003, a whole new approach to design was born. Inspired by Achatz's modernist cuisine, Kastner creates serviceware that pushes the boundaries of perception, form, and function, finding solutions for Achatz's service dilemmas. In Kastner's "Landscape" series, the designer looked to nature for inspiration. "I had a few chefs ask for the same thing, a liquid-solid platform that was very unconventional," explains Kastner. "I looked to landscapes, a place where it happens in nature, with rivers and valleys." The designer created several versions—Mounds, Dune, Craters—giving chefs a variety of platforms and crevices to work with.


It's fitting that Kastner's firm is dubbed Crucial Detail—working on a new design is a many step process, requiring numerous iterations and versions to get the finished piece just right. With "Parenthesis," a current work in progress, Kastner is working with the factory that replicates his plaster molds to get a perfect finished product. Although his original and the factory samples are close, a few things still required tweaking when we stopped by his Chicago studio. "The contrast between the ripple, and the non-ripple part of the plate is not as pronounced as we like it," explains Kastner, "and the proportion of the lid portion of the bowl to the vessel is a little bit off. Every project requires tweaks and adjustments," says Kastner.


The Crucial Detail Toolkit offers the most radically different means of presenting food seen anywhere in the world today. A collection of high-strength metal, wire and glass is combined to create pieces which can suspend your food and your belief. "The Antennae for example, a self-serve skewer; We can really control how people will eat. There is this level of control from the culinary level; we have this tool that can control the behavior and it allows you to manage the experience." says Kastner. The Toolkit is a truly inspirational way of presenting food, this collection epitomizes the design ethos of Martin Kastner – beautiful form with simple, intuitively identifiable function.

Check out the Crucial Detail Video on YouTube!

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