Food & Code

A new MA Design Products course for the RCA

The consumption of food affects every area of our lives - and yet as the climate catastrophy continues, global food systems are hitting their limits. Research Councils UK has found that 800 million people around the world still do not have adequate access to safe, nutritious food in their communities. As design practitioners, the RCA's Rob Philips and I believed that opportunities existed for innovative design-based solutions to key global issues concerning food production, consumption, and security, so we created ‘Food & Code’, a new project course for the Royal College of Art in autumn 2016.

In collaboration with various actors working in food innovation from Microsoft Research to Tescos and Growing Underground, the course took an experiential approach to the topic of food futures through a series exploratory industry field trips, group projects and 1:1 design critiques. The group of talented MA Product Design students then prototyped their own critical design solutions, each of which aimed to merge cultural and technological perspectives to tackle food security issues in a novel way, from a new vision for a value grocery store line to an augmented reality food-masking visor to biodegradable algae tupperware.