Serving With Xenios 

This was a collaborative project developed for the Stockport based restaurant 'Where The Light Gets In'. The title of our brief was Closed Loop relating to the restaurant's key values of limiting the amount of waste they produce to minimise their impact on the environment. 

For this project, I was joined by other students from the Interior design, Textiles and Film Making courses giving us a wide range of skills and disciplines to take this project in any direction we wanted.

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The restaurant itself isn't just that. Customers don't come just to eat a meal, they come for the overall experience hospitality provided by the staff.  As a group, we wanted to build on this experience by creating an object that helped bring customers and staff together.

Our first task as a group was to decide on the waste materials we wanted to use from the restaurant. 

As I specialise in glass and also having a textiles student in our group, we decided to explore how wine bottles and hessian coffee sacks could be used to make functional products for the restaurant.

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Xenios

Speaking to staff at the restaurant we learnt about the Greek term 'Xenios'. This is something the restaurant use as a way of welcoming customers and building relationships between them and the staff. The word itself means guest friendship and is the idea of generosity shown to customers upon their arrival. It expresses the idea of building relationships between guests and hosts through the act of giving gifts and providing the guests with food, shelter and protection. 

This idea of both staff and customer coming together at the start of the evening and getting to know each other was something we found intriguing so we decided to build upon this by making a product that could enhance the Xenios experience. 

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Our material development consisted of us trying to cut up the glass bottles into pieces that could be used as items within a restaurant setting such as serving dishes, ramekins and salt & pepper shakers whilst ensuring we used every aspect of the bottle to minimise the waste we produced. We also experimented with using the hessian coffee sacks to make hand towels or napkins.

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Our group decided we wanted to create some form of serving platter that incorporated all of the different glass forms we had been experimenting with. The plater would serve as a centrepiece for the Xenios experience allowing everyone in the restaurant to come together at the start of the night and share food together and build relationships.  In keeping with the gift element of the Greek term, customers would get to keep a piece of the platter such as a glass dish or hessian hand towel to take home at the end of the night. With the restaurant constantly producing waste, the pieces of the platter could easily be replaced. 

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At this point, we were headed into our first national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this we lost access to workshop facilities and were forced to use CAD software and the material testing we had already done to produce concepts for our final outcome. 

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