A Table Designed to Get You to Actually Focus on Your Meal

By Noah Kaufman |

Design: Kompaniet / Sofia Almqvist, Photo: Petter Brandt

You can call us curmudgeonly, but we’re just gonna say it: We hate when you scroll through your phone at the dinner table. No one’s feed is that important. And we’re not alone; Swedish designer Sofia Almqvist created a table based on the idea that we need to get away from our screens and second screens and focus on each other and our food.

Almqvist calls her table Umami and says her goal in designing it was to “create a place in the home that is inviting and which offers and reminds you of the meal as a moment unto itself.” To do so, she cut the table with countless irregular indentations and created customized dishes to precisely fit into them. Not only is the design an instant conversation starter, it actually forces diners to focus on what’s in front of them, if for no other reason than they need to carefully balance their plates, bowls and glasses when they aren’t eating out of them. 

The table is already winning major accolades. Almqvist got it into last month’s Stockholm Design Week and received a nomination for Ung Svensk Form, a prestigious Swedish award for young designers. Unfortunately, the table is a prototype and not in production right now, but Almqvist says her dream with this project is to partner with a chef and bring it into a restaurant. To that end, she will debut a café version of the table next month during Milan Design Week. If nothing else, it still offers a bit of hope to those of us frustrated by tableside tweeting that we might once again be able to enjoy a peaceful meal full of sparkling conversation.

You can see more of Umami and the rest of Sofia’s designs at her website and on her Instagram @kompanietdesign.

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