Creatively plated hummus and oil.

Photos by Dan Perez. All images © Reddish Studio, shared with permission

A staple of tables across the Middle East and western Asia, a hummus plate is itself an art form. Traditionally made from pureed chickpeas mixed with tahini, a condiment made from toasted sesame, hummus achieves a depth of flavor from garlic, lemon juice, salt. Topped with olive oil, garnished with herbs, and sprinkled with spices, each presentation is as much a feast for the eyes as it is a comforting, nourishing dish.

Designers Naama Steinbock and Idan Friedman, a.k.a. Reddish Studio (previously), draw on the popular meal in Speculative Hummus, a project they describe as a “collision between culinary heritage and design innovation,” questioning authenticity, locality, and appropriation. The duo repositions hummus as a case study in design, subjecting it to myriad practical and aesthetic transformations. They say:

The name ‘Speculative Hummus’ sets a tongue-in-cheek tone to the project, and it invites a reflection on the role of the designers in shaping cultural identity. We should ask ourselves whether our interventions are needed and what are their consequences. This project is a commentary about changes.

Steinbock and Friedman created plastic patterns that can form amorphous lumps into ridged circles, functioning like the arm of a record player and shaping the puree as it spins on a platform similar to a pottery wheel. The pair gently formed additional details with their hands and complemented the base with other traditional dishes like falafel, fava bean mash, and egg. The plates were then meticulously photographed by Dan Perez, and the images were projected onto screens in last year’s exhibition Food at Design Museum Holon, evocative of the way global fast food chains present their menus.

See more on Reddish Studio’s website.


Creative plated hummus and oil in a circle. Two side-by-side images of hummus with traditional sides like fava bean mash and egg, and falafel and chickpeas.

Creatively plated hummus with a green herbal dipping sauce in the middle.

An array of plastic shaping patterns.

A process image of hummus being formed on a wheel and shaped with the fingers.

A process view of hummus being formed on a wheel and oil being applied with a dropper.

A process image of hummus being formed with a plastic pattern maker.

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