Michael Hoppe of HOP Design has used 3D printing to create a set of cutlery that combines freshness, elegance, and sustainable manufacturing with a high degree of adaptability. Hoppe created the eating utensils, which were shortlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2022, to offer a design-friendly dining experience for people with varied abilities.
Anything from garden-variety arthritis to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s can make holding a typical fork, knife, and spoon difficult, if not impossible. But Michael Hoppe’s utensils, which he created with the idea in mind of making everyone feel welcome at the dining table, offer assorted handle angles and thicknesses, unorthodox dimensions, and textured handles for easier gripping. Combining these features with an overall style that’s simultaneously friendly-looking and sleek, the set achieves its mission with grace.
“Everyone has a favorite spoon or cup that they use all the time. That emotional connection to objects we use every day gives us comfort,” says Hoppe. He continues, “Cutlery solutions for people with disabilities can be orthopedic-looking and create a sense of ‘other’ when sitting next to regular cutlery. We aim to change that.” But form must do more than follow function, he says. “There needs to be an emotional connection to the product if it is to be truly successful. Materials, processes, and sustainability help to define outcomes.”
The range addresses the needs of people with a wide range of hand strength, dexterity, and control, and Michael Hoppe consulted with both occupational therapists and potential end-users. The use of 3D printing allowed him to test and adjust several prototypes, while also allowing the set to be adapted even further upon individual request via an online interface where existing models can be digitally altered before ordering. It’s a truly innovative combination of technology and design, used to bring the joys of elegant dining to an underserved community.
Font cutlery will be available to order in the near future, for between $60 and $100 for a 3-piece set. Learn more at Hop-Design.com. To read more of Journal #376, you can preorder the issue here.