One of our writers Penelope Volinia put together this interview with Lesstable, a food design studio based in Vilnius, Lithuania. She originally started an internship with the studio in February this year but due to Covid-19 complications she had to end it a little earlier than planned, but still had time to ask them a few questions!
How did Less Table start and what was your first project?
We met in Vilnius Academy of arts during our design studies. It is a story about common interests and friendship between students and teachers. The connection grew from social academic events, initiatives to business and creative studios. The most promising event was in academy during design week. In the yard random visitors were making sandwiches with building tools from various ingredients, then packing and leaving them with a note for other people to choose. It was a creative food workshop and exchange of sandwiches: a sketch and start of Less Table.
From the photography on your website (lesstable.lt), it seems that nature is a big inspiration of yours. What do you want to communicate with these references?
It is a very general idea about nature as the biggest inspiration and endless source of living. It is our poetry. We believe it is an important and vital understanding for everyone especially for society of rushing and comfortable cities. We see food as a symbol of harmony between nature and human, taking and giving, instincts and habits. And using it as a tool for expressing, adapting main values in an understandable, edible way or practical life.
What is the key quality of food design for you and who are the designers that you look for inspiration?
We strongly believe in the balance of theory and practise. Appropriate aesthetics has its reasons and each technical or small detail can be done in a very respectful elegant way. Curiosity, knowledge and courage are necessities for each of our projects or decisions. In the beginning we admired eating designer Marije Vogelzang and later we turned to the biggest, most powerful and creative designer: nature.
Food design in Lithuania is quite at the beginning. Why did you think there was the need to work more in this field?
It was a natural calling for us. Interests of good food and studies of design got combined intuitively. Only after some time we understood how advantageous is the field of food design. Eating and a need for this kind of pleasure, meaningful entertainment will never go out of fashion because it is vital. Of course it is a challenge to introduce the meaning and benefits of food design for conservative Lithuanians... even to explain what it is in general. Anyway it is worth inspiring the community because it creates sustainable surroundings.
What is the potential of food design and your role in it?
As we mentioned before it is about harmony between everything. Each day and step begins from a bite or sip, food affects a mood, health, decisions and works. Food design should inspire people to care, play, be friendly, be conscious, creative and happy. We project unique events, create strange products and experimental DIY workshops to promote that. Basically our ideas train people to see and create beauty in small casual things and take responsibility for that. For instance to eat less but better and with wonder.
How do people react when they participate at your events?
Usually as much we put energy and sincerity in a project that much we get back in emotional meaning. But it counts only when people really participate at our events by its meaning. When participants stay formal and keep distance we feel like criminals stealing attention and time with no reason. Anyway much more common is to welcome confused or shy people who would come after with big smiles thanking us if we would rescue them from boredom and vanity. It is magical to see a man in a suit laughing and being happy as a child. We slow and calm people down, separate them from their daily routine, bring back memories about childhood. All this reminds us about the playful part of life, the creative nature of humans. We do our best to bring people closer to nature, others and to themselves. It is quite appreciable. Do you collaborate with other small businesses and producers in Lithuania?
Yes, we do! It is our pride, luxury and quality. We promote and interpret local seasonal Lituanian food and eating traditions. It brings us to villages, fields full of cows, goats or herbalists, craftsmen and so on...
Penelope Volinia below during her internship with Lesstable
Thank you to Lesstable for answering these little questions for Crème zine and sharing with us some insight into their work! And thank you to Penelope Volinia for putting this article together.