Croatian studio Boir has designed a conceptual tableware collection for dining during the coronavirus pandemic, featuring a series of steel and stone objects that enable food sharing at a safe distance.
The tableware collection, called The New Normal, comprises five items, including a bread basket divided by a barrier and long spoons that enable couples to feed each other from a distance.
In designing the dining objects, Boir aimed to achieve a balance between "intimacy and safe distance" within the context of the coronavirus pandemic – often informally referred to as the "new normal".
"Despite coronavirus safety rules, our conceptual tableware retains that important social and cultural dimension of dining – sharing," explained studio founder Ivan Zidar.
"Boir's tableware bridges the gap between intimacy and distance, enabling safe food sharing and simultaneously connecting and separating the served dishes," he added.
Boir founders Zidar and Vlatka Leskovar-Zidar used stone and sheets of steel as a design-led take on the plexiglass barriers that are being increasingly installed in food and drinks locations to prevent the virus from spreading.
Organic stone fragments work to "soften" the harsh aesthetic of the geometric steel pieces, which give an impression of sterility.
The Dessert for Two design features two minimal stone dishes and two spoons with extra long handles, which couples can use to feed one another while keeping a safe distance.
A T-shaped piece of steel secured onto a rectangular stone base is Boir's modern reinterpretation of the traditional prosciutto serving plate. It comes with two tweezer-like apparatus that diners can use to eat the food with.
Also featured in the collection is a bread basket made from two semi-circular sections of steel, separated by a central, metal sheet.
Diners can eat amuse-bouche or sushi from an object comprising a centrally positioned rock that separates two projecting pieces of steel, upon which the bite-sized foods can sit.
The final Platter for Two design is a circular form divided into two using a sculptural piece of rock, whose shape emulates a mountain.
With The New Normal tableware, Boir hopes to revive traditional dining rituals while taking into consideration any potential further restrictions in the future.
"We perceive the contemporary dining as the theatre for the senses," said Zidar. "Our tableware and dining accessories are the props and backdrops – they set the tone, provide the space for performance and provoke the inquisitive minds of both chefs and foodies."
"No piece or process is redundant — everything is tied together with a strong narrative logic," he continued.
Many designers have attempted to create new objects to make dining safer and easier during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pentatonic studio collaborated with singer Pharrell Williams' creative brand I Am Other to create the Pebble portable and compact cutlery set made from recycled CDs.
Other designers, like Christophe Gernigon, proposed transparent, plexiglass hoods be suspended above tables like lampshades for people to sit underneath while eating and drinking.
Photography is by Nikola Zelmanović.