THE NO-MESS HALL
What the future of communal dining will look like, according to design group Hydra.
One hundred years from now may be hard to imagine, but the future is already talking to us through our digital assistants like Siri and OK Google, which are but primordial versions of the artificial intelligence to come. And reality? That’s so last century. The world as we will experience it will be more augmented, enhanced and lifted than a Belo ambassador. What will become of eating out, our national pastime, now that we’ve reached peak food obsessiveness?
Let’s consider the once-humble food court—with its plastic trays and cheap ‘n’ fast fare—which has evolved into the food halls as we know them today: epicurean destinations housed in historic buildings, indoor markets with hyperlocal, uber-artisan foods, or gatherings of chefdriven eateries tucked under one roof. In 2117, food might be more of a concept, maybe even a memory. Climate change, overfishing and soil degradation will have a huge impact on our natural resources if left unchecked—but technology will make up for it in novel ways. Asked to envision what the food hall 100 years from now might be like, Hydra, the multiheaded design firm comprised of Acid House, Inksurge, KM Design and Plus63 Design Co., imagines it as a place where
people consume “food” together through capsules and an IV, which are accessible from a “Foodhall Cloud.” All the nutrients you need will be delivered directly into your system—with none of the bad stuff. But what about the sensorial experience of dining? The smell of roasted tomatoes, the crackle of crispy chicken skin, the texture of fresh uni?
Not to worry: Diners will be on VR and they can choose to go anywhere in the world they want, alone or with their friends. Waiting several months for a reservation at Noma pop-ups will literally be a thing of the past. In an instant, you can be sampling the street delicacies in Bangkok or even indulging in a historical repast, say a royal meal in 17th-century France. The capsule you take will act like a drug, triggering your different senses so that you are completely immersed, not just visually, in the full-body pleasures of a delicious meal. People will be eating widely, tasting more types of food than ever before, and nothing will be out of reach—except, of course, the dish itself.