Eating alone is normal and this design makes it more comfortable

Eating alone has become almost as common as eating with other people – this design for solitary dining makes this new eating culture more comfortable.

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Sarah Hutchinson has designed Loneeaters, a series of products that address the contemporary phenomenon of lone eating.

The Hartman Group estimates that around half of all the eating in the US is done alone. Lone eating is so common it has developed cultural practices around it such as eating alone on the couch with multiple devices and the TV playing in the background. Where in the past eating alone was a sad affair, today eating alone provides the opportunity to catch up with email, social media or a good book.

The design also addresses feelings of shame associated with eating alone: “Ignoring the phenomenon of eating alone potentially causes huge damage to people's self esteem if they feel they've 'failed' by eating alone,” says Hutchinson.

There are currently two products in the Loneeater series: incline and nessle.

Incline is a multi-use cushion and mat for eating alone and relaxing around the house. Incline is designed to adhere to the trend of informality in the living room, and the movement towards lone eating in society. Incline is designed to relieve the pressure on your elbows and upper body when lying on the floor while eating.

The mat makes eating on the floor hygienic, and it protects floors from spills. The plate is designed with a flat side so it can be placedright up to the edge of the mat and closer to you. 

Nessle is a two-part cushion for eating and relaxing around the house. The first part provides a stable eating surface that makes eating on your lap less clumsy. The second part is a curved ottoman-like seat designed to allow the user to sit on, lay or develop other habits of solitary dining. The two parts fit together.

“No longer do we even need the structure of tables and sofa's, we can lounge, slob out, eat and relax intuitively on ergonomically shaped cushions,” says Hutchinson. 

Images via Sarah Hutchinson.