Coinciding with the European Union’s ban on plastic cutlery slated for July 3, two industrial designers decided to combine their collections for a broad study of the ubiquitous utensil. The ongoing project of Peter Eckart and Kai Linke, Spoon Archaeology is an expansive display of approximately 1,400 pieces of disposable flatware that the pair amassed throughout two decades. Containing typical cutlery and more niche tools like ice cream tasters and cocktail forks, the archive is arranged by color, shape, and purpose in glass cases reminiscent of anthropological studies, relegating the once-commonplace objects to the realm of outdated curiosity.
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At once a playful rainbow display of unique design objects and critical indictment of consumerism, Spoon Archaeology, which closed this weekend at the London Design Biennale, is a testament to the pervasiveness of plastics in contemporary society. The designers hope the scope of the collection prompts questions about the impact of single-use items on the environment. “As disposable products, they are mass-produced, cheap, easy to transport, and can be disposed of just as easily as they have been used. Ultimately, they are a symbol of our globalized logistics and throwaway culture,” Eckart told It’s Nice That, noting that the exhibition also marks a larger change in “significant factors in our table and dining culture as well as in the history of technology.”
To make the archive more accessible, Eckart and Linke started an Instagram account dedicated to Spoon Archaeology, where they plan to share more images from the collection in addition to news about where it’s headed next. They also created a color-coded print shown below that lays out a portion of their lot, which you can purchase via email or download for free here. (via Core 77)