What Is Happening to Our Senses and Tastes? BE OPEN Looks Into the Future at Milan Design Week 2013

BE OPEN’S second day at the Fuorisalone offered visitors the opportunity to taste the future, with the BE OPEN Talk, a panel discussion moderated by Philippe Daverio on the sensory future and the BE OPEN Food Theatre at the Moroso showroom, a unique food experience.

These events are a part of an extensive programme to research design for the five senses through innovative projects that reach out to the sixth sense, or intuition. The Foundation is committed to developing this concept, finding ways of connecting with people’s intuitive responses through inventive combinations of the sensory and the technological, to create the ultimate in multi-sensory experiences.


Prominent creatives, artists and scholars Fabrizio Plessi, inspirational designer Aldo Cibic, innovation guru John Thackara, star chef Davide Oldani and global architect / designer Christophe Pillet, shared their thoughts about the sensory future in the BE OPEN Talk Senses and Tastes – a panel discussion moderated by Italian critic Philippe Daverio at the Aula di Rappresentanza at Statale University.

John Thackara spoke for all when he talked about the need to understand and respond to the ‘ecozoic era’, to achieve a completely harmonious relationship between man and the planet, or the “reintegration of human endeavours into a larger ecological consciousness” (Thomas Berry).  The theme of working together, across disciplines, cultures and philosophies, was paramount.

Multimedia artist Fabrizio Plessi gave insightful examples of how man has to work in harmony with technology, showing some of his ravishingly sensual, technological work on screen and stating that “technology must be used, otherwise it will use us” and that we must therefore make technology as human as possible.  This concept had been totally embraced by Pillet, Studio Azurro and Sfelab in their zen-like installation in the courtyard of the University outside the Aula di Raprresentanza.

The talk was followed by the highly anticipated launch of the BE OPEN Food Theatre at the Moroso showroom, a brand new element of the foundation’s sensory programme.  Using Kvadrat’s textiles and Moroso’s furniture, celebrated designer Patricia Urquiola had create a revolving ‘stage’ for a unique food performance by Italian Massimiliano Alajmo, the world’s youngest chef to be awarded 3 Michelin Stars and the avant-garde Danish duo I’m a Kombo.

For Alajmo’s dinner ‘performance’, guests were to wear glasses with orange lenses to eat pumpkin soup and inhale the scent of childhood whilst eating desert, as each sense in turn was stimulated by novel eating concepts.

I’m A KOMBO’s menu focused on the senses of touch and sight to link to Urquiola’s use of Kvadrat’s variously coloured and textured textiles.  The colours of the food were coordinated with the fabrics and bite-size dishes were set out in fabric bowls so that one could almost ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ yellow, red and green whilst sitting in a yellow, red and green room.

This event was the precursor to BE OPEN’s Paris-Dakar project, a series of concept restaurants that will be designed in collaboration with the most interesting creatives of our time, a journey where taste is brought into dialogue with the other senses and where different food cultures meet to create a unique experience.  Paris-Dakar is one of BE OPEN’S business development projects, where young and established creatives can develop innovative concepts and projects to improve our future.

“It is a pleasure for us to announce that a new theme that will be launched at the 2013: exploring the interaction between the North, South, East and West in terms of culture and creative approach.  The project will endeavour to analyse the issues that face cities around the world and how they can approach and solve them collaboratively.” – BE OPEN’S Founder Elena Baturina said.