Multi-sensorial Gastronomy by Philips Design


Philips Design in Eindhoven have collaborated with Spanish restaurant Arzak to create a conceptual series of tableware that glows when food is placed on it.

Called Multi-sensorial Gastronomy, the designs are part of the ongoing Philips Design Food Probe project, which investigates how we might experience food in the future.

This range includes a bowl, plate and serving plate that emit fragrances, vibrations and light in response to the presence of food on their surfaces.

See also: A machine that prints food by Philips Design (September 2009)

Here's some more information from Philips Design:


The latest Probe: Multi-sensorial gastronomy

The ‘Multi-sensorial Gastronomy’ concepts are the latest project in the Food Probe. Lunar Eclipse (bowl), Fama (long plate) and Tapa de Luz (serving plate) are made from bone china and familiar objects from our everyday lives. However when liquid is poured into the bowl or food is placed on the plates, they begin to shine. A glowing light subtly appears from the bottom of the bowl and plates creating a new sensory dining experience as the senses are stimulated and altered. The series uses bone china and involves the integration of lighting, conductive printing, selective fragrance discharge, micro-vibration, electro stimulus and a host of other sensory stimuli that affect the food and the diner in subtle ways. The Multi-sensorial gastronomy Probe project sets out to explore ways in which sensory experience can be altered dynamically during a meal. The bowl, serving plate and the long plate have been developed with Arzak.

Engaging the senses

Famous Spanish restaurant Arzak and Philips Design have agreed to explore the multi-sensorial possibilities of gastronomy by developing provocations that involve the material integration of electronics, light and other stimuli to enhance the experience of eating. The prototypes and concepts produced in the context of this collaboration do not represent a commercial agreement between Arzak, Philips and Philips Design. The ideas are a collaborative exploration of concepts intended to provoke discussion and debate in the world of food and technology futures.

The bone china series

When liquid is poured into the bowl, a glow subtly appears from the bottom of the bowl which in turn fades while you are eating and returns when the bowl is placed on the table. A similar effect can be seen with the plates. Light starts to glow as soon as food is placed on the plates.

Design Probes and Arzak

Arzaks’ team created three special dishes to accompany the plates, complimenting the design concept of the objects:

  • Pomez stone - the only stone that floats
  • Totem and taboo of foie
  • After the footsteps of the roe deer

Philips Design Probes, where it all begins

The Philips Design Probe program was established to explore far future lifestyle scenarios based on rigorous research in a wide range of areas. Probes projects are often carried out in collaboration with experts and thought leaders in different fields, culminating in a "provocation" designed to spark discussion and debate around new ideas and lifestyle concepts. Previous Probe provocations include 'Electronic Tattoo', 'emotional sensing dresses', 'future sustainable urban habitats' and the Food Probe covering ‘Diagnostic Kitchen’, ‘Food Creation’ and ‘Home Farming’.

The future is about sensitive technology

A car belt knowing what to do in a car crash, a dress that feels and fits your mood and plates that play music to accompany the food you are enjoying. It might sound like the ingredients for the latest movie of Star Wars, but you wouldn’t be further from the truth. These are just a few examples of the possibilities multi-sensorial solutions in which electro-stimulus and many other sensory stimuli can be applied in day-to-day objects to react to and affect or enhance your mood.

Posted on Wednesday February 17th 2010 at 11:01 am by Antonia Anastasiadi. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Very nice concept. I can imagine having sushi in Tokyo on these surfaces, it would add another level to the food experience. They should add sound to the objects also. Fusion cuisine indeed.

  • Fling

    What are these people eating? it looks like the putrifying remains of some hapless woodland creature that wandered into a wood chipper.

  • B.S.

    Um…isn’t food multi-sensory anyway? Taste, Sight, Touch and sound. Doh! Back to the drawing board Eindhoven

  • laura skeeters

    Fabulous idea.
    It will be the perfect compliment to a total-darkness restaurant where the only source of light comes from the food. They should also entertain the idea of creating a glow-in-the-dark drink glass or drink, to go with it..

  • Nenad

    And a glowing toilet to match…

  • hayden


  • hayden

    Plates that play music ? seriously ? no thanks. Why in the hell would I want my PLATE to play music ? I’m a purist. Horses for F****n courses.

  • how about a plate that eats the food for you?

  • cv

    why do we need all this crap. just use a plate. eat your food. and be done with it. jeeeeeez!

  • mr

    I kinda agree with the above people. Doesn’t food itself hold the sensations that people are to be experienced? What I want to know is HOW the yellow light creates the experience, why yellow, why light? You can’t just add lights onto everything (take note people!) and then say your product creates an experience. It just seems like too vague a concept…..what is the aim?

  • bella

    don’t get me wrong.. I am sure a lot of time and effort was invested in these designs..
    BUT in times where millions of people are starving and dying because they can’t even afford to buy a handful of rice a design like this seems like a joke, really. we should try to invest our time to create something of real use.

  • Jhon

    The photographies are fascinating. Very well realized and they catch really the combined light.

    Are done by Jose lopez Jauregi.