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Embassy of Food

All week at Blok 63-S | Strijp-S By World Design Event

The Dutch Institute of Food & Design creates a global platform for designers working with food and eating. We explore how we create food and what, why and how we eat. We show the relevance of food connected to design and design connected to food. We ask critical questions about the discipline and link designers to each other and other sectors. The DIFD brings an emerging design discipline to the next level. With our final goal in mind: to enrich eating cultures and address the societal and environmental challenges around food using design as a tool to achieve this.


The core of the Embassy of Food, hosted by the Institute of Food & Design, is the EDIBLE INVISIBLE exhibition. Here you can experience something you can’t see: microbes. Microbes are everywhere and influence our lives to a far greater extent than we thought until recently. Our gut flora and what you eat not only influence our physical health, but also our emotional well-being, our behaviour and even our taste. Will we soon be treating Alzheimer’s and depression with diets? And what can designers do with such knowledge?

‘This year, the Embassy of Food is focusing on the invisible components in our food,’ says eating designer and programme curator Marije Vogelzang. ‘Which is why I want to call the Embassy the Micro Embassy of Food, also to indicate that this year the Embassy is quite a bit smaller than last year. The programme is definitely not less interesting, though. We focus on food and design in relation to micro-organisms. We investigate wat designers can do with all the knowledge about the role of micro-organisms in our digestive tract, in the soil and for agriculture. We increasingly realize, for instance, the importance of bacteria and fungi in the soil for our lives and that it therefore can be important to grow your own food. We will offer visitors to the embassy a wide range of ways to experience the role micro-organisms play in our lives.’

Designers in particular can help us develop this new way of looking at bacteria and food. Designers find ways of enabling us to experience what those invisible, intangible microbes do and what their significance is for life. The EDIBLE INVISIBLE exhibition at the Embassy of Food offers designers an opportunity to do precisely that. One section of theexhibition will be provided by students at the Food Non Food department of the Design Academy who create an interactive experience that will give visitors a sensory experience of how microbes affect us. The other section of the exhibition consists of at least six projects by designers who work with food. For example, German students will present an installation in which people can grow algae by feeding them with bacteria from their breath and saliva. Another project uses chocolate as a wrapper for various bacteria. In this concept people are initially sent a bonbon containing a nanorobot which analyses the bacteria in their gut. Based on the results they are then sent chocolates containing bacteria that will improve their gut flora. Visitors will also be able to listen to music produced by fermenting sourdough.

Exhibitants: Anthroponix, Hannerie Visser (Studio H), Ina Turinsky en Andreas Wagner, Maria Apud Bell, Ogura Hiraku, Olivia Ioannou, Roza Janusz, The Eatelier, Julia Schwarz en de Studenten Food Non Food / Tom Loois.

Future Food Design Awards

Alongside EDIBLE INVISIBLE the finalists of the Future Food Design Awards will also be on display at the Embassy of Food. This is the second year the award will be presented. The prize was established by The Dutch Institute of Food & Design (DIFD) in collaboration with Agri Meets Design. During the DDW the public can vote for the audience award.

Tea Talks andFoodFutures

In“micro" interview sessions, The Dutch Institute ofFoodand Design invites visitors to share their critical design visions or wildest dreams on the theme ‘what design can do forfood'. Tuesday until Thursday 15:00 – 16.30 hrs.

WorkshopWhat is Fermentation Design?

Sunday October 28, 14 hrs we are hosting theWorkshop “Fermentation Design Project” by Hiraku Ogura, who presents several activities on how to visualize invisible things with animation, community design and a special kit for cultivating microbes.


EDIBLE INVISIBLE is a project of The Dutch Institute of Food & Design (The DIFD) and is supported by Dutch Design Foundation, Design Academy en The DIFD and The Future Food Design Awards are supported by Het BankGiro Loterij Fonds,Kunstloc Brabant,Het Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie,Stichting Stokroos,Agri meets Design,Design Indaba,MOLD.

Anthroponix (Eva van Strien - Anne van Strien - Thieu Custers)

Every day we flush away 1.4 liters of our own urine with 33 liters of clean drinking water. We are using a lot of energy to flush away our bodily waste. But what if we could make this resource useful again? Urine has a lot of untapped energy we are now discarding, it contains the three main elements used in traditional fertiliser: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. If we would harvest these nutrients from our own body instead of sourcing them from limited resources, we can use them to grow new life sustainably.

Hannerie Visser (Studio H)

Often-deemed worthless residue waters from traditional fermented dishes are packaged as a range of high-end perfumes, highlighting how valuable the microbes in foods are to the human body. This range of anti-perfumes, representing countries from around the world, is accompanied by a food insults* printer to draw attention to the fact that often, horribly, cultures are ridiculed for their most precious and proudest national dishes. This interactive installation where visitors are encouraged to smell and taste the anti-perfumes, serves as a reminder that we all eat the same. (*All the insults were gathered from actual Youtube footage)

Ina Turinsky & Andreas Wagner

Stocks of various micro-algae are available in your pantry, differing in species, metabolic by-products, growth rate and appearance. Choose the right algae culture for your personal requirements. Three different plates provide three different growing conditions that result in three different dishes. Take the appropriate plate and inject your algae culture. Put the cultivation chamber on top to create the ideal growth environment. Spit and breathe: feed your culture with a daily dose of bodily nutrient and air supply. Over a span of ten to fourteen days of your care the seedlings grow in to a lush population. Take off the chamber and consume your dish.
By-products of the human body often have a negative connotation but yet contain a range of usable substances. Simple organisms, like green micro-algae, are able to thrive on them. In combination with light, spit and breath all conditions for microbial growth are available. A symbiotic relationship emerges.

Maria Apud Bell

Mela is a speculative service company which supplies chocolates with bacterial cocktails, specifically designed for your health. It monitors your bacterial needs by using a disposable Gutbot: an electronic pill which measures your microbiota from inside your body.
By adjusting our gut microbiota we can reduce the impact of stress, improve our sleeping cycle, control sugar and lipid metabolism, improve our mood state and reduce the excruciating symptoms of digestive problems.

Olivia Ioannou

Fermentation transforms raw ingredients into more flavourful, nutritious and durable culinary goods. A sourdough starter is a culture of wild yeasts and bacteria, traditionally used to make bread. These microorganisms are responsible for giving sourdough bread its distinct sour taste and chewy, yet airy texture. When keeping a sourdough starter, feeding it to keep it alive and healthy, one grows to care for it not just as any other material, but as something that is breathing, excreting, replicating and responding. Allowing the senses to become sensitive to the process of fermentation leads to a deeper understanding of the culture’s life cycle, as each sense provides a different perspective into the activity and state of these invisible microorganisms.
In an effort to give microbes in sourdough a voice, Olivia Ioannou has created a new fermenting environment, which allows to record data from its environment, such as carbon dioxide levels, a by-product of fermentation. This information is translated into sound, constructing a microbial symphony.
Ioannou asks: could a conscious interaction with a microbial culture help re-establish our relationship with the natural world?

Roza Janusz

Growing packaging is a project inspired by the vegetable farming. Plants are subjected to standardization tests just like objects. The farmer is more and more an engineer and the farm becomes a factory. So, is it possible that mass-produced things will grow?
The SCOBY material is “weaved” through bacterial fermentation.The material is a membrane that prolongs the durability of a product and can be eaten together with its content or serve as compost. SCOBY is grown by a farmer not only for the production of packaging, but also because of the valuable by-product, which is good for soil microbiome. So maybe the packaging production will no longer litter the environment, and it will even enrich it?
Roza Janusz is this year's graduate of School of Form in the field of Industrial Design. In her design work she seeks new meanings of practicing as a process where making meets growing.

The Eatelier

Why do we like a certain food? Will healthy food make us feel happier? And if so, how can we make the healthy foods taste better? If depression and anxiety can be a result of an unhealthy intestinal flora, how can we improve that? And why is chocolate so tasty and does it really make us happier? What does food do to our brain and can we anticipate the effects? Could we get happier and smarter by picking the right things to eat?
By translating scientific research into the world of food, food design studio THE EATELIER & creative chef PIPPENS will answer to these questions by creating an eye opening, educational and exciting lunch & dinner experience during Dutch Design Week 2018 on the Sectie – C terrain. At the expo Edible Invisible you will be able to get a sneak-peak & taste of how Artificial Intelligence like IBM’s Watson will be able to help you enjoy a healthier and more delicious future.

Julia Schwarz

Population is growing, harvests are failing, the climate’s becoming more extreme. What alternatives remain for preventing the predicted food shortage? Next to algae and insects, which are receiving a great deal of attention, lichens possess a great deal of potential as a source of nutrition in the future. Extremely hardy, and frequently confused with moss, lichen are a superfood. Lichen are effective when used as medication – and they even grow on Mars! Common orange lichen, a composite organism of algae and fungi, is already widely spread in cities and in agriculture. UNSEEN EDIBLE imagines a society in which lichens are prevalent and commonly used in our daily food.

Students of the Food Non Food Design Academy

Students of the Food Non Food department of the Design Academyne create an interactive experience that will give visitors a sensory experience of how microbes affect us.

Leon Barre
Jasper Bloem
Sterre ter Beek
Gerard Lukken
Eungyun Kim
Hee Chee
Josef Zappe
Sarah Fitterer
Sarah Roseman
Ben van Kemenade
Maya Colombier
Laurianne Da Rocha
Floor van der Wal
Jiheon Chae
Mabel Dapling

Teachers: Tom Loois and Mara Skujeniece