Awem is a set of three wooden plates with copper tops, designed for the exhibition “Celebrating Nature” for the Salone Satelite 2017, part of the Salone del Mobile di Milano.
This project was designed to celebrate chilean and south american materials.
The name Awem comes from the Mapudungún (chilean native language) and it means: to be amazed. So it is an invitation to be amazed by a different way of eating.

*Pictures by Facultad de Diseño Universidad del Desarrollo, Ignacio Infante.

We started developing this project at the University, in the Objects Design class and the process lasted a year. Our Design school received an invitation to be part of the Salone Satelite, at the 2017 Salone del Mobile in Milan, and this project was supposed to be a contest to pick projects to be exhibited there.
The idea was to create something around the concept of “celebration on the table”.
I wanted to design a food container first, and I new that I wanted to mix wood and metal.
First I designed a big round Raulí wood plate with a laser cut designed bronce plate in the centre, to support hot plates. I was not sure about using bronze, so I learned about copper’s qualities (some of them are that it can keep the heat and is also antibacterial) so I decided to change bronze for copper and instead of using the metal part to support the food, I would use it to contain it. I also change the Raulí wood to South American Haya, due to Raulí’s reddish color would not stand out next to the copper.
And from a completely 2D slice of copper I change it to cone shaped tops that would keep the food protected, hot and would also create a different feeling in the user when receiving the food “hidden” and then having to open it and discover the meal and the scents that the copper would help contain.
At first it was just one plate, but then the teacher proposed the idea of making three so it would be one for each course. So they ended up being: one medium plate for the appetizer or salad, a big one for the main meal and a small one for the dessert.

I draw the objects ideas first and then designed them in Rhinoceros.
When the idea war clear, I worked with a wood turning artisan, who made the plates after my designs. I had to join the wood pieces into making a big cube for the artisan to wood turn after.
For the copper parts, I used metal lathe turning, where another artisan would get a copper strip and turn it into this cone shaped tops using three different matrixes for each size.
To finish the process, I sanded the wood until it would feel very very soft and sealed it with coconut oil and bees wax.

Our hole class made very good designs which where all very well received by our Design School, which is why our dean decided to take all of them to the exhibition “Celebrating Nature” in the Salone Satelite in Milan on April 2017. So besides the fact that learned a lot in the design process (about wood and copper properties an different artisan techniques) being part of the group of students that showed their project in such an important exhibition as the Salone Satelite was an amazing experience.

Fernanda Rousseau

Chilean, product designer, 25 years old.
Graduated from Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile.