Jell-O Has Its Day

Designers are pretentious snobs when it comes to Jell-O, and I’ve never understood why. Jell-O comes in lively primary colors, and can be molded, melted, layered, mixed with fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts or dairy, made clear or opaque. You would think it would be a designer’s dream food. It’s better than Legos and Play-doh because you can eat it if you tire of toying with it. But as food, Jell-O has been deemed a second-class citizen, lumped with stuff dished out in cafeterias and spooned to toddlers lacking teeth, sick people too weak to chew, and people scheduled for a colonoscopy. So, it is refreshing to see that Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn is hosting a Jell-O Mold Design Competition next week with the support of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Museum of Design, Smart Design, Core 77 and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, among other aesthetically savvy entities.

The competition rules are rigorous. Entrants are required to make their own molds, either a new one or a recontextualized pre-existing form. A panel of distinguished (we assume) judges will grade their Jell-0 on creativity, aesthetics, structural/sculptural ingenuity, edibility/culinary appeal, and best use and showcase of Jell-O. The grand prize is $400 in cash. You have to hurry if you want to participate. The deadline to register for the 2011 competition is tomorrow (June 15) and costs $15 for adults, $10 for students. Check out this video for inspiration.

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Fast Company Celebrates the 2009 Masters of Design

Fast Company named this year’s Masters of Design: David Butler, vice president of global design for Coca-Cola; David Adjaye, architect and CEO of Adjaye Associates, David Rockwell, interior architect and head of Rockwell Group, Alberto Alessi, head of the famous Alessi Design Factory, and Lisa Strausfeld, new media design and partner of Pentagram in New York. This is a brief interview with three of the recipients. In future weeks, we hope to bring more indepth remarks by the 2009 Masters.