Retro Futuristic Spoon
An object as mundane as a soup spoon is something that we might take for granted. However it’s simplicity in form and function makes it a crucial arbiter of good design. Nowadays, Arne Jacobsen is best remembered for his contributions to product design. However, he considered himself first and foremost an architect. When commissioned to design the SAS Hotel, he thought of it as a “gesamtkunstwerk” or an epic all embodying art project that required him, the creator, to carefully consider every aspect of the hotel experience.
“It may sound affected - but it is the act of creation itself, and it is equally exhilarating whether one is working on a teaspoon or a national bank.” - Arne Jacobsen
He designed a full cutlery set that emphasised his commitment to simplicity and efficiency by using only the absolute minimum amount of steel needed to produce each knife, fork, or spoon. He considered factors such as surface area to volume ratio and the speed at which the soup would cool to determine the ideal form. The hotel manager, the media and guests poked fun at the designs that were way ahead of their time. However, Stanley Kubrick who included the cutlery as prominent props in his 1968 sci-fi classic “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Most of the props and set were designed specifically for the film to indicate that it was taking place in the future, but Jacobsen’s cutlery was already appropriate.
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NYTimes, “Reflections on a soup spoon”
Arne Jacobsen’s website
Design Museum on Arne Jacobsen