Soundful Tableware

Baoyi Li

Juli / July - 2019

Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart



It is a set of tableware that interacts with its user via sound. The three products each generate unexpected sounds based on different principles of physics.

What is the Topic?

The theme of the design is synesthesia. Imagination and perception never simply exist in the present, they must reply to the past experience. I aim at finding commonly recognizable sounds and triggering people’s visualizing association by means of stimulating the hearing so as to affect the perception. The sounds arising in this series of products all result from designs inspired by nature, from where the sounds are universally common.

Why does it look like this?

Figures of these products are simple and exquisite, in which way their appearance on the dining table does not look incompatible. The sounding structures of the products are all purposefully downplayed and hidden. Item 1 – Bowl The design is inspired by the sound of sea waves splashing against pebbles on the beach. When the plump bowls sit on the tray, the tray of bowls will wobble involuntarily and make rhythmic clear sounds. As only a small part of the tray touches the table, the engendered sound due to the freed space becomes even purer. Item 2 – Condiment Dispenser The design attempts to imitate the sound of the rain. With several multiple tenons arranged inside the dispenser, the shaking of salt or pepper makes the rustling sound of the condiment clashing with the interior structure of the bottle. The cap and the body of the dispenser connect magnetically. Item 3 – Carafe This design finds its inspiration in the sound of bird chirping. According to the principle of air pressure, the air pressure decreases with the reduction of water volume. When water is poured out of the pitcher, the air pressure inside the pitcher gets lower and the air outside enters in through the tiny hole in the cap. Thus the sound of chirping birds comes up. The faster the user pours the water, the higher the key of the sound is.

What is special?

All of the three products catch the user’s attention by sounds, which are actively perceived by the user. When using the tableware, people will inevitably ask about the sounds. However, different users can have different associations. The sound generated by the condiment dispenser, for example, resembles raining to some ears, while some people associate it with snowing. Soundful Tableware interacts with people in an intangible way.

What is new?

When people use this soundful tableware, unexpectedly pleasant sounds will arise in dining. In interacting with the tableware, the user will thus be surrounded by a harmonious acoustic atmosphere. With this set of products, the sound mediates not only the interaction between the tableware and the user but also the interaction between the user and the other diners. The design provides a fresh new dining experience. It brings the user’s attention to dining itself as well as the communication with family and friends on the dining table.