TU Yunwen Design
Eat My Way through Design

Food: Material Experimentation

Gastronomic Light

Edible Material Invention: The Design Application of Gelatin

It is a light made of gelatin.

This is a project for studying the phenomenon of light and material experimentation. I took gelatin to invent the material for making light, which introduces the aesthetic of edible material through an unconventional path. 

gastronomy light process.001.jpeg

I started my project inspired by the sparkling paved sidewalks in San Francisco. I tried replicating the original context with casting concrete and mixed it with glass and plastic. In order to replicate that effect I researched the scientific phenomenon that caused the apparent glitter and learned that it was the reflection of light on abundantly spread tiny mirrored surfaces. Based off of the physics behind the glitter I began changing my materials. After series of experiments, such as gummy bear dough, ground coffee jelly and whisked tofu jelly, I discovered that whisked gelatin bubbles could create a similar effect. Playing with the light and dried gelatin bubbles helped me discover that the light reflected exactly the way I wanted when I used gelatin foam, which led me to exploring it as a design material.

I tried making the bubble with different tools and ingredients. After trying out a spectrum of ingredients, I realized that gelatin was the most suitable. So, I went back to the gelatin and tried making it more durable through coating and casting with industrial materials. This resulted in a nice epoxy resin sheet, sandwiched the gelatin bubble in the middle.

With this new material, I started to explore form. After a series of experiments, I landed on clear acrylic stacking as a method to mold my foam. This was a different type of mold that I could not separate from my foam. However, to my delight the clear acrylic added to my design. 

The process of designing this lighting solution drew parallels to molecular gastronomy. This inspired its name, Gastronomy Light. Given the inspiration, I feel contextually, this light would fit into a dining or restaurant setting.