Contingency, 2014

PLA 3D print / porcelain slipcast / terracotta slipcast, reduction and oxidation firing. Tableware set.

Contingency is a speculative tableware set designed for a future in which unchecked anthropogenic global warming has resulting in extreme sea level rises, population displacement and disruption to agricultural production on a planetary scale. It was created as a response to the UNSW Art and Design Royal Doulton Award, which asked for entries to respond to anticipate future food trends. Rather than focus on short-term food fashion trends, or developing a project concerning ways to help prevent global warming from impacting food supply, I instead decided to investigate what kind of tableware might be manufactured in the possible future where human civilisation fails to act in its own defense.

The set comes with a variety of pieces: a bowl, a large, small and tiny cup, and two sizes of plate. Their forms have been designed with portability in mind, assuming that in my future scenario mass human migration is ongoing. It's possible to fit many of them inside each other: a small cup can hold two tiny cups, which itself can fit into the large cup - and the bowl can then fit two of these large cups, two more of the small cups, and then fit several small plates stacked on top, with a large plate as the lid. These were created using porcelain clay, but I also used different materials to create versions of the forms with alternate functions. The bowl and large plate, when made from unglazed terracotta clay, can be used as cookware. I also made a water filter by combining terracotta clay with coffee grounds, based on some fantastic research by ANU materials scientist Tony Flynn.

These different items can be combined in different numbers and stacking patterns to match the needs of an individual user. I also designed a laser-cut MDF packaging solution, which takes the form of an internal and external skeleton. The internal skeleton helps brace the smaller pieces stored inside the bowl during transport, while the external skeleton buffers the bowl against damage from the outside. The ceramic forms were developed via sketch, finalised as vectors before being expanded into models suitable for 3D printing. The 3D printed parts were then moulded in plaster to create moulds suitable for slipcasting.