Jell-O Has Its Day

Designers are pretentious snobs when it comes to Jell-O, and I’ve never understood why. Jell-O comes in lively primary colors, and can be molded, melted, layered, mixed with fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts or dairy, made clear or opaque. You would think it would be a designer’s dream food. It’s better than Legos and Play-doh because you can eat it if you tire of toying with it. But as food, Jell-O has been deemed a second-class citizen, lumped with stuff dished out in cafeterias and spooned to toddlers lacking teeth, sick people too weak to chew, and people scheduled for a colonoscopy. So, it is refreshing to see that Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn is hosting a Jell-O Mold Design Competition next week with the support of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Museum of Design, Smart Design, Core 77 and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, among other aesthetically savvy entities.

The competition rules are rigorous. Entrants are required to make their own molds, either a new one or a recontextualized pre-existing form. A panel of distinguished (we assume) judges will grade their Jell-0 on creativity, aesthetics, structural/sculptural ingenuity, edibility/culinary appeal, and best use and showcase of Jell-O. The grand prize is $400 in cash. You have to hurry if you want to participate. The deadline to register for the 2011 competition is tomorrow (June 15) and costs $15 for adults, $10 for students. Check out this video for inspiration.

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