Closer

A plate designed for talking by literally putting the table into your hands in order to set you free for limits without taking out your personal space. Designed for left and right handed to enjoy eating, but created for people to start conversations and get closer.

The experience
Dinner parties are a traditional way to introduce friends to one another. Closer plates free partygoers from the confines of the traditional dining table and bring people together, encouraging mingling and conversation. Closer plate lets guests enjoy their food while giving them the freedom to move around the room and enjoy the company of other people. The plate functions much like an artist's palette, giving the user the required leverage to hold food and drinks with a single hand.
Design
The Industrial Designer Marco Guadarrama developed the Closer plate during the program "Tradition and Innovation through Industrial Design,” organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Working with Japanese craftsmen and designers from the region of Takaoka, Japan he was determined to find the right balance between functionality and beauty for his plate.
Elegantly crafted for both left and right handed people, Closer plates facilitate networking at reunions and cocktail parties. They are also ideal for road trips, camping and lazy Sundays on the couch. Whatever the occasion, Closer plates keep the conversation going. The dish features two cutouts -- one for the thumb and one for a wine glass, sake cup or small dip bowl -- so that libations are always close at hand. A hollowed-out bowl fits small appetizers and hors d'oeuvres perfectly.
THE STORY OF CLOSER

My name is Marco, and I'm an industrial designer from Mexico City based in San Francisco, California. Closer grew out of my participation in the program “Tradition and Innovation through Industrial Design,” organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). During the program, I researched traditional Japanese arts and crafts and high tech companies through fieldwork, including visits to companies, studios and workshops located in Toyama, Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima, Inami, Gokayama and Takayama.
One day, I was invited to try one of the most popular hot pot dishes in Japan: Sukiyaki. In a small apartment, with a group of people I had never met before we gathered around a fragrant, steaming pot of food. We moved around the space eating and striking up conversation with one another. I noticed that the absence of a table created many opportunities for people to connect, but talking while carrying bowls with food was challenging. In that moment, I decided to create a product that could improve this experience. Working with Japanese craftsmen and designers from the region of Takaoka, Japan and inspired by the functionality and beauty of Japanese arts and crafts, I developed the Closer plate.
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