There are many things that have to be taken in considerationconcerning the environment that
the products are going to be used, and many issues that arise from that situation.
After long research, and by utilizing common sense, I have concluded that the main issues are: weight, durability (fragility), usability and ergonomics.
Some of them are greatly contradicting each other. Therefore, considerable tradeoffs must be made.
Honestly, a successful designer should consider many things before reaching a final design.
Current practices vary greatly between airlines and passenger classes. From the most inexpensive pre-packed, ready to serve meal, to a full seven plates gourmet meal served with porcelain plates, there is a vast gap. For this reason I have examined economy and business / first class alternatives.
The Ancient Greece Traywas inspired by the “Kylix” form, an ancient Greek tray design.
The handles provide a strong and easy ergonomic grip, perfect for handling and passing to the passenger, while the form shouts “Ancient Greece” in a loud and clear, surprising manner. It avoids being kitsch, by avoiding loud decoration on the side –
instead, geometrical patterns that sooth the sight and feel “eternal” and classic, another example of good design.
On the same time it provides plenty of space for accommodating all possible plates and cups and
an eating surface on top of the tray which is easily removable and reusable.
Although it looks rigid and strong, the necessary material can be minimal. It can be made out of plastic
without looking plastic, thanks to the decorative patterns on the side.
Therefore it provides for two variations:
1) Economy Class made out of plastic
2) First Class made out of metal (Aluminum Bronze) and wood.
A very serious and important aspect of in-flight dinnerware design and aircraft interior design in general is space.
And when we talk about space in an aircraft, we have to understand that it is a top priority.
Even more important than initial investment production cost for the trays is the cost associated with cabin space.
The last years many airliners have successfully reduced operational costs by maximizing the number of passengers that fit in the cabin, often sacrificing leg space.
On the case of the dinnerware, however, a clever design in terms of stacking is a must.
This is the way the Ancient Greece Tray is stacked, one fitting tightly into the other.
The eating surface is: Removable, Washable, Food Safe, Easy to repair, Light and Durable.
It is made out of renewable, locally sourced material (wood). It is also easily stackable for logistics and transportation.
Having reusable parts, not only reduces costs on the long run, but is also great for the environment.
I is a common practice among airlines to use reusable plastic parts, which can be reused up to 30 times.
This part Is much more reusable, and has a much longer life cycle, offering unlimited use for much longer before needing to be repaired or replaced.
One of the most renowned oftapestries in history of mankind is the Bull-LeapingFresco originally decorating a wall in the interior of the palace at Knossos in Crete. Their polychrome hues – white, pale red, dark red, blue, black – are signs of “mature art” created no earlier than Middle Minoan Period III. It has become a symbol of Minoan and in an extension, Greek art. What a better way to say: “Welcome to Greece! Welcome to Crete!”
The rubber base firmly secures the Ancient Greece tray with the backseat tray. It is easily removable for cleaning or to be replaced, should such a need arise. The large touching surface enables maximum friction and therefore no slipping. Moreover, the special configuration on the top surface of the backseat tray ensures that this is not going to move.
The main plate is the epicenter of the dining experience. The main course concists of a meal based on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine,
exactly like one expects to have on a Greek restaurant! Tourists love those! So why wait to land on Greece to start eating?
The material of the plate is Aluminum Bronze. It is food and microwave safe. It has small heat reductivity thus
reducing the amount of heat lost before arriving to the passenger.
On top stands a thick cardboard cover, engraved with the Phaistos’ disk. The thick cover, besides helping preserving the food temperature inside,
it also is an attraction for the eye. The passengers can keep it as a souvenir!
Savoury and Desert Plates are equally important to the main meal. They can include local delicacies such as nuts, olives, feta cheese, tzatziki, halva, dry fruits, yogurt, honey and spoon sweets. In some cases they can even contain seasoning, such as salt and pepper, salt and oregano, other herbs, etc.The side dish, it’s much larger than the small bowls, but still much smaller than the main dish, and it can include the renown Greek salad, fries, rice, fried vegetables, etc.
They are all made out of aluminum bronze. Aluminum bronze is food and microwave safe.
Cups are also a design specifically taken from Ancient Greek. These two specifically are the “Calyx Krater” and the “Skyphos”.
They can be made out of plastic, wood or clay, with plastic being the most dominant version.
In them can be served many drinks, such as red wine, white wine, sangria, orange juice, Greek coffee, water, etc… Not only that, but they can serve for containers for fruits, fruits salads and other combinations. They can be served alone, or as part of the total tray.
All in all, the experience of designing this inflight meal has made me better as a designer and as a human being.
I realized that there are many issues that one has to consider before proposing a new design of an item.
Imagination can be a great travel companion when one searches for the “Ithaca” of perfect design.
Culture does not represent only the forgotten past. Culture represents all the little details that make life interesting. They embody the passage of time in visual form. Culture is therefore even more important than history; when it is lost, it is lost forever.
A new item that tries to mix traditional design solutions with modern needs and aesthetics is a very ambitious achievement.
People always try to change the “old” for the “new”. But what if it is so old that is forgotten? Can it then be considered new?
In my journey, I have tried to prove that it can. Only time can show. Till then, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your flight!