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D’SIGN’s Weekly Dose: Beijing Design Week Heng Zhi

Water table object

At the 1st Beijing International Design Triennial: Vienna based Chinese designer Heng Zhi contributed an object installation called “Water Table Object”. The Water Table Object is made of corian with four pairs of golden tableware sunken in water. The project was created based on a one-year research that questions whether using knives and forks or chopsticks is more civilised than eating with one’s hands. By doing so, raise the question or better the questions for Heng Zhi; “Why do we need a fork? Why is it ‘barbarian’ and ‘uncivilized’ to eat with hands from your own plate? Because it feels embarrassing to be seen with dirty and oily finger in company.” Are we!! Chinese designer Heng Zhi produced Water Table Object following a research project.

Water Table Object by Heng Zhi
Water Table Object by Heng Zhi

Not easily answered and this resulted in the exploring ways to combine theory and practice in tangible objects. The theoretical output is an essay called “Stäbchen oder Besteck? – Entstehung, Formwandlung, und die ‘zivilisierten’ Esser”. The essay tells you abouth the Poetry that happens during the process of serving the table and the force of the fragility of the whole setting. Watching the downfall of the eating implements that we are used to, we start to question why certain patterns of behaviour and certain everyday objects make up the relationships within social groups and lives. Enjoy!

Golden plates and cutlery become slowly submerged underwater when this table is set
Water Table Object by Heng Zhi

Golden plates and cutlery become slowly submerged underwater when this table is set.

The top of the table by Chinese designer Heng Zhi sits on a tank of water that’s concealed inside the Corian frame
Water Table Object by Heng Zhi

The top of the table by Chinese designer Heng Zhi sits on a tank of water that’s concealed inside the Corian frame.

The weight of the metal plates and cutlery forces the floating tabletop to sink below the surface of the water
Water Table Object by Heng Zhi

The weight of the metal plates and cutlery forces the floating tabletop to sink below the surface of the water.

Once water has flooded the surface, diners are forced to either let their food get wet or to eat with only their hands
Water Table Object by Heng Zhi

Once water has flooded the surface, diners are forced to either let their food get wet or to eat with only their hands.

Story by: Gabriëlle Voogt


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