Cutlery with built-in stands

My friend Jens-Martin Skibsted, the Danish industrial designer behind Puma's Urban Mobility bicycle and Biomega, created this ingenious set of cutlery. Each utensil has an integrated little "stand" to keep the business end from touching the table when you set it down. Keeps food off the table and germs off your cutlery. Jens-Martin designed the product, called "Side-On Cutlery," for Mater, a Copenhagen-based brand all about "ethical business strategies" and "working methods that support people, local craft traditions and the environment." Jens-Martin told me that he was blown away by how rigorously Mater scrutinizes the business and environmental practices of their suppliers before contracting with a particular factory for production. From the Side-On Cutlery description:
A polished, stainless steel cutlery collection consisting of fork, knife, spoon and tablespoon, inspired by Japanese oki table setting. the side-on standing cutlery range offers an attentive (sic, "alternative"?) to the traditional table setting. Produced in a family-owned factory located in the guangdong province of southern china.
Link to Mater's Side-On Cutlery, Link to Skibsted Ideation

Previously on BB:
• Biomega's new Puma bike Link
• Biomega/Puma sneaker for biking Link


  1. Another solution to a problem which isn’t a problem at all. Why can’t we rest the cutlery on the plate?

  2. I love it! But being left handed, I’m quick to notice this is a right handed spoon. I think the other 2 are onmihanded.

  3. But fun isn’t worthwhile! You can’t do something just to have fun! You can’t buy or make something just to enjoy it! What are you, some kind of bohemian?? :-)

  4. Speaking of fun, if those knives are at all sharp, I see a lawsuit coming as soon as someone accidentally sits their hand or arm down on top of one…

    btw, what does “offers an attentive to the traditional table setting” mean?

  5. Those are a great concept.
    I always end up placing my knife blade side up between the tines of the fork to avoid touching the table surface.

  6. Plenty of people don’t think to place their utensils on their plates. The table looks clean but still…

  7. Just clean the freaking table, some part of your body will probably touch it anyway at some point, even it’s just when you are arranging the place settings.

  8. The cutlery has applications in countries where hygiene standards are not high. For those who are concerned about hygiene, even if the restaurant itself is clean, the cultural expectation would be to keep the working end of the cutlery away from the table.

    Some say you can place the cutlery on the plate. What if you want to put the cutlery on the table before the guest/the plate arrives? No need to manage cutlery stands/holders in this case. I was looking for chopsticks with stands in the set but sadly no cigar. Follow the link and you will see chopsticks, but they have a different focus.

    Finally it seems that adding inbuilt stands to everyday devices seems to rate thumbs up from the community in general, like the umbrella with the inbuilt stand that was featured sometime ago. Maybe I should design a mouse with an inbuilt stand. God knows how dirty a computer area can get.

  9. “Each utensil has an integrated little “stand” to keep the business end from touching the table when you set it down. Keeps food off the table and germs off your cutlery.”

    Ah, more great design solutions for problems that don’t exist.

    In the civilized world, we place the “business ends” of flatware upon the sides of the plate once we’ve used them. While we are still eating, if we need to put them down we place them on their respective sides, angled towards the top-center. When we are finished, we place them together on the right side, with the fork to the left of the knife, its tines pointing down, and with both angled across the plate (as if it was a clock, with both hands pointing at between 4 and 5) with about an inch of their handles extending over the edge of the plate.

    This has been the standard in the West for the past few hundred years. It’s not exactly a great leap forward to start telling people to place flatware back on the table. This is just the sort of thing that designers should learn before attempting to solve a problem — find out first if the problem actually exists.

    (Reply to this)

  10. Hate all you want, but this would be the perfect solution to “where do I put my spoon when I’m microwaving something that needs to be stirred first/scooped out of a can?” I just had this problem several minutes ago.

  11. This solution creates new problems.

    Although pretty to look at, Tender Greens Restaurant in Culver City, CA has similar cutlery and when you rest your silverware on your plate (after decades of conditioning), it wobbles and ends up hitting the table anyway. I watch patrons fumble with their flatware every time I eat there and it makes more of a mess than anything else. That said TG is an amazing place for food, I wish they’d just change their cutlery.

    I agree with Bricology.

  12. Just saw the whole dialogue – must admit I haven’t read it all. In Denmark where I’m from (the guy who designed the cutlery), it is habitual that we change plate between courses & keep the cutlery (for some reason we tend to have more plates than cutlery). There you have the option to hold it in your hands or make the table cloth dirty (&, if your friends are those kind of people, the cutlery too). jm

  13. souris, the best solution to your problem would be to skip eating at tender greens. Their food is bland at best and their prices are ridiculous.

  14. Geez people
    Haven’t you ever been invited for a multicourse meal?
    Occasionally plates are changed and then you might be faced with not wanting to put the fork and knife you are left with on the nice clean table cloth while you wait for the next course.

  15. Have you never had a salad before? Tender Greens would be overpriced even if the food were good, which it isn’t. It’s easily the worst of the new restaurants in CC.

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