Ideal Dining Tables

Ideal Dining Tables

Photo by Nam Kiyong

SMSM, Ideal Dining Table for the Designer Mr. K and Ideal Dining Table for the Designer Ms. R, 2012. Mixed media, 120 × 85 × 73 cm each. Diet prescriptions by Kim Se-won and Kim Hye-ryeon. Food models by Jung Jongil. Woodwork by Yu Ju-yeol. Exhibited in Life A User’s Manual, curated by Kim Sungwon, Culture Station Seoul 284, 14 September–4 November 2012.

Composed of Sasa[44], Park MeeNa, Sulki & Min, SMSM is an applied-art collective devoted to health and happiness. Ideal Dining Table for the Designer Mr. K and Ideal Dining Table for the Designer Ms. R present “ideal” diets realized in the form of custom-made furniture completed with plastic food replicas. Based on profiles of existing designers, they will symbolically and visually realize the ideal diets, which is not easy to put into practice or sustained in the real lives of the designers. The diners will eat their own unorganized food alongside with the ideal food already on the tables, mistaking the ideal ones as real and vice versa. In doing so, they may take a look back on their lives and reflect on their negligence and haphazardness. Or, they might be able to get some relief while looking at the fake foods that are made only with plastic.

On one hand, the ideal dining tables are a work that tacitly indicates our contemporary obsession with health and food. On the other hand, however, it is a genuine attempt to contribute to the narrowing of the gap between the ideal presented by discourses on health and the exhausting lives of designers. Moreover, it takes the prevalence of manufactured goods that are represented by Ikea in domestic space to an extreme, extending the notion of readymade from a tool on which we lay out foods to the food itself.

Ideal Dining Table for the Designer Mr. KIdeal Dining Table for the Designer Ms. R

Photos by Nam Kiyong

Purple top: Mr. K is a 34-year-old, self-employed graphic designer living and working in Seoul. He stands 176 cm and weighs 94 kg. He loves food, especially meat. He smokes 1 pack of cigarettes per day, and drinks at least once a week, about 7 glasses of soju each time. He does not exercise. He works 66 hours per week, usually sitting in front of his computer. He commutes to work by public transport. His monthly income is irregular, the average being 1.2 million wons. Standard weight for Mr. K’s height is 68.4 kg, which means his obesity is 137.4% (obese). The optimal calories per day for Mr. K (his actual weight [94] multiplied by coefficient for obesity [25]) is 2,350 kcal.

White top: Ms. R is a 40-year-old graphic designer living in Bundang. She stands 163 cm and weighs 52 kg. She maintains a well-balanced diet, and eats regularly. She does not smoke, and drinks about twice a month, roughly three glasses of wine each time. She works out at a gym twice per week, for one hour each time. As a full-time employee (design director) of a design studio in Seoul, she works 55 hours per week, usually sitting in front of her computer or having meetings. She drives to work. Her monthly income is about 3 million wons. Standard weight for Ms R’s height is 56.7 kg, which means her obesity is 91.5% (normal). The optimal calories per day for Ms. R (her actual weight [52] multiplied by coefficient for normal weight [30]) is 1,560 kcal.