At just 25 years of age, Elsa Lambinet is a fresh talent of the food design world. A recent graduate from the prestigious Ecole Cantonale d'arte di Lausanne with a master of advanced studies in luxury, she turned heads during her school days.
Her experimental works for the likes of Baccarat and Christofle and her more recent Sweet Play chocolate project have attracted the attention of the design community and of several international publications.
Previously a stagier for the likes of Philippe Starck and L’Oréal’s Areca design section, she’s currently focusing on her modular chocolates, which started from a curious idea that has developed into a proper company.
How did you decide to become a food designer?
I have been passionate about combining design and food for a long time. Food is a spectacular material for designers, as it involves all senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. The color, texture and form must also be taken into consideration. This field was, for me, a daunting space for experimentation, as every sense is experientially excited.
How was it working in Philippe Starck's studio?
It was a very intense and interesting experience. Philippe Starck has a very impressive mind! What I mean is, you might spend 3 days looking for the solution to a problem, and then he’ll suddenly show up and give you the answer in a minute.
Which are the designers that you most appreciate and why?
I am crazy about the work of a new food designer studio called Miit Studio: they are a team of two designers and create very fresh concepts around food. They imagine new ways of eating by encouraging complicity and conviviality between people.
Which do you consider as your most interesting project so far?
Sweet play, it 's the only project that I had the chance to develop entirely by myself: from the molds to the production, the packaging, the shipping and the budget... I had to found my own company for this project and it has been a great challenge for me.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
It can be anything: for Sweet Play the concept generated from the Lego tiles. The original idea was to create a new design/concept using chocolate. While making my research, I saw some Lego games and got my inspiration from there. I loved the way you mix and switch the colorful plastic tiles, creating endless solutions by using your own imagination. I realized that this is exactly what I wanted to do with this work: you can choose your chocolates, mix them with your favorite flavors until your creation matches your own taste!
For Stretch I was inspired by banks, for the Propeller spoon it was a boat propeller... When I have to deliver a new work, I just try to be as open as possible because the idea can come from anywhere and at anytime.
Why today people are more interested in food?
Because the way we eat is changing quite fast, people are more aware of what they eat (the ingredients and their origin) and how they do it.
What's your relationship with cooking, apart from work?
Of course I like cooking, it's relaxes me a lot. But what I like the most of cooking is at the end sharing the meal with the ones I care about.
Which is the best comment that you have ever received about a work?
It was with propeller, someone told me that it was a poetry object.
What would you be, if not a designer?
Definitely a chef, it’s such a creative and passionate job.