The first design to emerge from hot new Toronto design studio +tongtong is Mooncake, an invitingly spare dining table whose removable trays, fashioned after the alluring topography of our otherworldly moon, are designed to be eaten from directly, thereby inviting chefs and hosts to use food artistically, while asking diners to participate in a new communal eating experience. “I read the other day that the only food we share in North America is pizza,” says +tongtong founder and director John Tong, an architect who has turned his sights to product and furniture design to elevate the imperative of a good and functionally interesting design creation. “Everything we eat besides pizza is served on individual plates,” Tong continues. “I am Asian and I grew up with the Dim Sum rotating table experience; eating off multiple plates, sharing plates, tasting all the food. It’s a very intimate experience that we hardly ever get to enjoy in the urban mainstream. Because Mooncake’s ensemble of trays create a continuous surface, it is as if the food makes up a continuous, communal meal. This offers a new social dimension to the usual individualistic dinner, a shared eating adventure."
Inaugurated at the recent re-launch of the Design Exchange in Toronto, where chef Matthew Matheson served exotic foods to 150 guests directly on the trays, including a broth with clouds of floating broccoli florettes that lent the moon lakes a gently green aura, the verdict was that Mooncake’s effect was ‘social activation’. "Under dramatic sunset lighting and a Sigur Ros playlist, the guests felt transported to another world," beams Tong—a world where the participatory eating adventure reigns supreme.