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Suspense was the Final Project of my MA at Central Saint Martins.

It is an exploration of the consumption of wine, both in public spaces and in the home environment.

The aim is to draw attention to the rituals behind wine tasting and highlight them through an object that can create a new experience for the consumer and an opportunity for reflection. In a society where fast is best and everything is consumed rapidly, Suspense challenges this behaviour inviting people to take their time while they consume wine, evoking the slow process necessary to obtain the precious liquid.

The device extends the moment between wine being poured from the bottle and the moment it can be tasted from the glass, creating a new condition in which the wait for the wine increases the desire and adds value to the wine itself. The wine almost gives a performance, entertaining with the characteristics that make each wine unique such as the colour, smell, composition and sound. The imposed interruption between the bottle and the glass presents an opportunity for discussion about the characteristics of the liquid and an occasion to admire the wine in all its beauty.

The object is a tool for wine discovery, highlighting the behaviours behind wine tasting and transforming them into a chance for discussion. The consumer is invited to become a spectator and witness the decantation process happen before their eyes. The increased amount of time that the wine is in contact with the air allows the wine time to breath and encourages the aromas in the wine to develop. The consumer is required to wait for the decantation process to take place, this suspense can be used in wine clubs and wine schools as well as in the domestic environment.

Suspense features a range of filters that can be changed by the user - or the sommelier - depending on the type of wine being consumed and the time required for the wine to breathe. The addition of interchangeable filters allows the user greater control over the wine oxidisation and adds a great deal of versatility to the object.

This is a device designed for wine aficionados who are looking to embrace all aspects of their wine enjoyment. The object is based as much in functionality as it is theatre, creating an all encapsulating experience in which wine is the protagonist and they are the audience.

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The project was a journey into the world of wine tasting. With its traditions and rituals, wine is considered one of the most sophisticated drinks - but also one of the most common, being revered even as element of religious rituals.

The exploration opened a door into the realm of connoisseurship and inquired into its social impact on the contemporary developed world. Through an investigation on the power of semiotics and the opportunity for social elevation through its understanding, the work highlights the importance of design and its influence on people’s behaviour. In the modern world, where things happen increasingly quickly and everything is consumed at an unprecedented speed, time has become the ultimate luxury and waiting has evolved into a new experience that discloses the essence of value itself.

Through history and sociology, this is a chance to connect with traditions, rituals and habits and an opportunity for reflection on the centrality of design as a method for investigating the world of wine tasting.

Discovering the meaning of connoisseurship, I inquired into the importance of the tools involved in the act of consuming wine and questioned whether a single object could unlock the secrets to become a true expert. The project questioned the possibility of changing the entire experience by altering a single step of the process and, with the help of wine lovers and experts in the field, it culminated in the realisation of a unique design piece.

 

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SEPTEMBER 2016