I recently had some time to scroll through the shortlisted entries in Designboom's Dining in 2015 competition, in which industrial designers were encouraged to conceptualize products that will fit how we eat in 2015. Though the winning entry, the Leaf Spoon, was stunning in its simplicity, I much preferred the anthropomorphized grater pictured above, called Scratch my back. I'm dying to recruit this guy to help me out in the kitchen. (Do you hear me, Alessi?)
One of the other more visually stunning entries is "Plus Minus F," an orb-like salt and pepper set that uses principles of magnetism to hover above your table. It's an excellent hybrid of beauty and practicality that could easily double as your table's centerpiece.
Among the more strictly practical entries was the Eco-cook, which lets you use a single pot of water to cook multiple items without mixing them together. Another: the Flexi-bowl, which is made of bendable silicon, and saves cupboard space and resources by adjusting from plate to pasta bowl to soup bowl.
Of course, this competition focuses on design concepts, so there's also a fair amount of whimsy to be found. Among the less-practical finalists were a multifunction tool that can fill and aerate six glasses of wine with one pour; nature-inspired chopsticks made out of tree branches coated with a biodegradable film; silicon boats that infuse fun into the mundane act of blowing on soup; and (a personal favorite) a grill that attaches to your car's exhaust pipe, letting you at least get a good meal out of global warming.
To browse through the rest of the competition short list, visit Designboom's Dining in 2015 site.