Made for Gaggenau

Food and Time: Ripening


13 September 2016

This year, Gaggenau turns 333 years old. From its origins as a small iron foundry in Germany’s Black Forest, Gaggenau has always prized slow and considered product design and development. The brand’s contemporary products – design-led, highly engineered domestic appliances – are the result of 333 years of hard earned experience and expertise.

To mark the brand’s anniversary, Gaggenau and Disegno partnered on a project that would celebrate the working method for which Gaggenau has become known: elegant product design, borne out of meticulous process and deliberation.

The result was Food and Time, a project examining how the relationship between duration and food culture. From the length of the growing process, through to deliberation about when to harvest and choices as to preparation, everything that we eat is shaped by time. A food’s colour, shape, texture and structure may all fundamentally change over time. During those transformations, what remains?

To create the project, Disegno and Gaggenau turned to Arabeschi di Latte, an Italian food design studio founded by Francesca Sarti in 2001. Sarti responded with a series of five recipes that reveal the intricate and beautiful ways in which duration shapes the dishes that we eat, as well as the way that we prepare and think about food.

None of the ideas that Sarti developed represent fixed, immutable recipes, but rather they prioritise the processes involved in their creation. The Food and Time recipes will adapt as time moves on, but they still pay homage to where they have come from. All five are living entities that stand in tribute to the impact of time upon the creative process.

Food and Time is a tribute to the creative approach that Gaggenau has fostered from its inception. Gaggenau’s products are not disposable objects or the result of quick, reactionary thinking. Instead, they are the product of 333 years of history and ongoing processes of experimentation, innovation and progression.

Sarti responded to this with a project that shows this same ethos to be alive within wider food culture. Working with the photographer Michael Bodiam, she created five recipes that examine food processeS to which the passage of time is essential. Accompanied by still-life images and GIFs shot by Bodiam, Sarti’s recipes encourage us to reflect on the depth of the connection between food and time.

Below, Sarti shares her recipe for black bananas.


Fruits are a good barometer of the passing of time. They ripen at different speeds and gradually transform in colour, taste and smell. Some fruits ripen best after they are picked, while others taste better when they are ripened on the plant.

In Greece, for instance, there is a variety of dried fig that ripens and even dries on the tree. The following recipe artificially initiates the process of ripening in a banana. An initially green banana undergoes numerous transformations in smell and taste until it comes to its final black stage. An additional twist comes by adding sour, salty and herby elements.

The quality of light in the photographs is very soft. They remind me of still-life Renaissance paintings, many of which depict decaying fruit. Here we went a step further and recorded the fruit ripening in stages. Time passing is witnessed as the gradient of colour changes. Once the banana skin becomes completely black, it’s ready to eat.

Black bananas

1 banana
A few, small pieces of dark chocolate
1 lime
A few leaves of lemon thyme
A handful of chopped, salted peanuts

– Preheat the oven to 200°C

– Carefully slit open the banana. Push some chocolate pieces into the fruit and put back the peel.

– Place on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until the skin is very black.

– Take out of the oven and carefully remove the skin. Finely grate over some lime zest, sprinkle with a few lemon thyme leaves, and add some chopped, salted peanuts.