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Clamp Trays by NAVET Design Collective

Stockholm based design collective, NAVET, formed in 2011 as a group of designers and friends who appreciated each others ideas and wanted to work together. Highly experienced in attending openings and launch events, the group started to think about what the result would be if they made the event itself into a design project. The result of this design experiment was a launch party in May 2012 for a series of “social serving products. The pARTy was held in an art gallery in Stockholm where guests could interact with NAVET’s clamp trays.  The purpose of each tray in their pARTy collection is to encourage people socialize and interact with food. Their clamp tray was designed as a means to enhance the display of food and turn cocktail snacks and sustenance into dramatic, interactive trays of convenience.

“The idea of the clamp tray came to us when we looked at ways to enhance and display food as sculptures or still life installations. By attaching a smaller display area to a table or onto another surface, the thing on display gets extra attention. The idea of being able to serve your guests and then attach the tray to the table for an extra bite is very appealing. We have studied a lot of retail and art exhibitions and determined the attached tray also maximizes the presentation of the food on the table”  shares Lina Huring, one of the designers part of the NAVET Design Collective.  Who doesn’t like sculptural party food!?

Clamp Tray by NAVET Design Collective Stockholm

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(Event)Photo Source: Sotarn

INTERVIEW: NAVET Design Collective, Stockholm

01 What is the cultural significance of the tray as an accessory used to entertain in Sweden?
We traditionally invite our guests to our homes for fika, namely coffee and home made biscuits. In summer, we bring the fika on a tray into the garden.  In the winter, we serve it in the living room. The tray allows us to change the setting where we eat and socialize. Maybe that’s an explanation, that or we just like to put things on trays like little compositions, to give things a home.

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02 What was involved in the design process of the clamp trays (pARTy collection)? 
Our design process always starts with an idea. We do extensive (individual) research and after a while, we lock ourselves up somewhere (like a hotel room) and have a workshop. When we narrow down a specified set of ideas, we divide the realization process among our skills and then evaluate what we came up with before putting together the collection and eventually, producing the pieces. We all follow the production closely and evaluate the result together.  All projects are documented in text, images and/or video.

When we designed the pARTy collection, we wanted to work around the frivolity of eating and mingling. Some of the objects even affected how you physically eat or move around food and drinks. We built little models testing all our ideas. We made spinning trays, lamps you could eat from, sticks to eat with, pedestals for cheese and trays that you can clamp onto any surface. The trays are made of powder coated metal and were made in three different sizes, with or without edges. For the event we made them in four different colours, which were inspired by the world of vegetables. We are currently finalizing the collection that will be available to consumers.

03 What type of consumer do you envision purchasing the clamp tray?
After the event, we had many requests for the Clamp Trays from different people. We think the diversity of the tray appeals to a lot of customers, since it also can be used for other things than food, like a still life on the window sill or an extra surface for your bookshelf.

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04 Do you entertain at home? 
We always gather around food. Meals often start with champagne and end up in late night conversations and dancing on chairs. Sometimes the meals are simple; good bread, fresh butter, cheese and a carafe of wine. Sometimes it is more advanced and themed like a traditional Swedish crayfish party or a barbecue in the backyard.

05 What is happening in the design scene in Stockholm these days?
There are lots of nice restaurants and bars in Stockholm, new ones popping up every week. Growing, making and cooking is becoming a common subject in the design business both here and internationally. Among the consumers, there is an increasing interest in knowing the origin of your food. This is also quite evident in restaurant interior design. In Stockholm, young designers are increasingly taking part or taking over both production and distribution. It’s about taking control over the whole process and knowing where your goods are from.

06 What type of food are the trays most suitable for presenting?
We have used them for serving everything from steak sandwiches and tapas to pastries, but also to present objects composed into still life installations, or flowers.

07 What is next for you?
Currently we are working on a collaborative project around a handmade CNC milling machine. The CNC mill was built by 2 brothers, and will work around a complex digital system where you can send files through a website and collect your customized furniture at the mill. NAVET are working on the designs of the milled objects, but also, of course, on the event experience. It is an exciting project to be part of.

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(Product) Photo Source: Viktor Sjödin

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