“Can we create a new aesthetic of scarcity? asks Francesca Sarti

Supermarket shelves groaning with food are a symbol of our age of overproduction and overconsumption, argues Francesca Sarti of Arabeschi di Latte in her manifesto Dezeen 15. Instead, she asks, how can rationing go? will it become poetic?


Sarti’s manifesto, titled The Beauty of Rarity, includes a proposed micro-distribution system that paves the way for an “alternative hedonism” that celebrates frugality and parsimony.

The idea is Sarti’s contribution to Dezeen 15, a digital festival celebrating Dezeen’s 15th birthday that invited 15 contributors to present ideas that can change the world over the next 15 years.


The beauty of scarcity

Why are we such die-hard consumers when we know that our overconsumption and wasteful lifestyle are contributing to a global emergency? What can help us make profound behavior change?

I have always believed that convivial moments could grease the cogs of our collective spirit for change. Over the years, I have designed projects that facilitate human interactions and create new rituals to embrace change. I chose joy to impact different aspects of daily life: from the use of disposable plastic bottles to the recovery of the pleasure of preparing by hand or reconnecting with nature.

Right now, I think the most urgent change of perspective is that of our relationship with prosperity and its counterpart: scarcity.

We are too addicted to the “beauty of abundance”

In a way, scarcity is the inevitable and dark result of our behaviors. At the same time, it is the solution. Most of the environmental problems associated with diet are due to overdoing, overeating, overproduction and overconsumption. To put it simply, these are quantity issues.

We really need a change in behavior and since we also eat with our eyes I think it’s important to build an alternative visual storytelling to educate ourselves on the ‘beauty of scarcity’. We are too addicted to the “beauty of abundance”. From our daily shopping experience, where wholeness is the norm, to the ubiquitous celebration of abundance at gatherings and events.

Why not completely rethink the aesthetics of our food stores? Why don’t we forget the piles of fruits and vegetables, the towers of jars, the overcrowded stalls of fish and meat? Whether it’s supermarkets, exclusive food halls, or delicatessen, it seems they can only be desirable when they display a beautifully appointed abundance that inevitably becomes the seed for an unnecessary lifestyle. .

Why not completely rethink the aesthetics of our food stores?

Instead, can we create a new aesthetic of beautifully paired rarity?

A few years ago I bought Shop through the Iron Curtain, a book by David Hlynsky, which contains a collection of 100 storefront photos taken in the Soviet Union between 1986 and 1990. Since then, images of those empty, sober but somewhere beautiful storefronts have stuck in my mind. I saw the potential of something.

This manifesto literally puts on the table keywords that want to help open a discussion and define a new narrative to find new forms of desire, pleasure and beauty more likely to encourage frugal consumption patterns and some enjoyment. sustainable.

Testing centuries-old traditions alongside new ideas, I imagined applying the principles of the manifesto to a micro-commerce system in the style of Arabeschi di Latte. The principles are intentionally naive in their design. Their simplicity and vernacularity can serve as examples for new forms of gratification, poeticizing the shopping experience and honoring the little things.

Left: Sarti’s poetic bread project. Law: Qurut can be found in nomadic huts. Photos of Chiara Dolma

The poetic bakery

We need to eat less and reduce our consumption. How can rationing become poetic? What if the product on display itself conveyed messages to us like the ones sailors used to write to their loved ones on hardtacks (boat cookies) during long trips at sea? Japanese words like sessei (moderation), setsudo (restraint), wa (harmony) and setsuyako (economy) might do the trick.

The nomad hut

Frugality and parsimony have always been the hallmarks of nomadic culinary traditions, from the pilgrim’s scrip – a wallet used to transport food – to Berber broth and qurut, the long-lasting fermented milk of the Asian steppes. All of them are fascinating examples of food preservation.

Left: chez Sarti Cooling project. CIAM photo. Right: she adeli. Photo by Chiara Dolma

Ascetic charcuterie

Inspired by the humble aesthetic and parsimonious design of mujin hanbaijo, unmanned boutiques in the Japanese countryside of Japan. These feature a simple holder, just a few products and a piggy bank. An example of confidence and a humble ascetic aesthetic.

Anthropochorium

Humans have dispersed the seeds by many different means, and surprisingly large distances have been measured repeatedly. The dispersal of seeds by humans is called anthropochory. Exposure to Antjropochorium consists only of the seeds of plants that have traveled with humans, beyond many borders. It is an unexpected commensalism.

Left: chez Sarti Anthropochia project. photo by Metz + Racine. Right: she Turnip decoction project. photo by Chiara Dolma

The epiphany room

The summer heat, an empty room, a block of ice to sit down and cool off together … at night, blooming flowers, warm light in the dark … A space to celebrate the sublime simplicity, a poetic reflection on our needs bodily. A reflection on how simple objects can be transformed with minimal effort into healing tools to alleviate and improve our well-being.

The tower of remedies

A small shop that brings together vernacular methods to purify the house, the mind and the body: an idea to naturalize and tinker with retail, with grace.

Portrait of Francesca Sarti
Above: Francesca Sarti photographed by Chiara Dolma. Main and first image: illustrations from Sarti’s manifesto

Interdisciplinary designer Francesca Sarti is the founder and creative director of the experimental food design studio Arabeschi di Latte. She created the Italian studio in 2001 to blur the lines between design, architecture, art and food.

His work takes the form of curating exhibitions and scenography to interior design, artistic direction and styling.

Learn more about Arabeschi di Latte ›

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