When we live in the world that we do today, how often have you been at the dinner table with one (or more) members of the party on their smartphone, much to the annoyance of others? The prospect of smartphone-free dining sounds like an all-too-appealing prospect and is now a possibility thanks to the invention of a signal-blocking tablecloth.
It is all too common that many of us (members of our studio included) don't seem to be able to function without our phones. Such a phenomenon triggered designer Ralf Lambie to create SAMEN, the 'social tablecloth' that encourages people to ignore their phones while eating. Featuring special pockets in the tablecloth that work like a Faraday Cage - no messages or calls can come in - and equally too, there can be no vibrations or illuminated screens initiated. Just think, there is no physical possibility of any quick Googling or sharing pictures of your meal on Instagram, with discussions allowed to entirely focus on the dinner's members.
In Dutch, the word 'samen' means together, and that is what this SAMEN tablecloth is about: reuniting people around the dinner table. SAMEN blocks your phone's distractions and promotes face-to-face interaction, encouraging you to temporarily store your smartphone in one of the signal-blocking pockets during a dinner party. Allowing you to talk to your lover, friends, or family without being interrupted - with the rest of the world on hold - SATORI & SCOUT are certainly both fans and amused at the prospect. What a fantastic idea.
As we all know and can relate to, phones certainly play an increasingly important roles in our lives, even at the very dining table, which was once the heart and soul of any family or friend connection. Simply look around any restaurant and you will notice straight away that many people are interacting with their smartphones. They seem more interested in what's going on in the outside world than right at their own table, inside their moment.
As research discovered by British Columbia University, people who use their smartphones during dinner with family or friends enjoy it less than those who don't. Equally too, research conducted at Virginia Tech showed that the mere presence of a smartphone, even when it isn't used, has a negative impact on the quality of one-on-one conversations. People are less likely to open up to the other person and have more difficulty expressing their deeper feelings. Now how about this for an enjoyable evening's prospect? Yes, we could just leave our phones at home or away from the table, but this invention is sure to play its part in putting social things right.
Discover more about the designers online at: RalfLambie.com.
Photography credit : Lucie Beck and Judith Snel.