Prospect - Your vision to the future

Print design, speculative design, concepts, infographics, research, illustrations

Prospect is a book of a research project that offers a vision/imagination of the future to sustainable food production and provides an appropriate nutritious fit to our modern diet with minimum waste. In the world of speculative design, Prospect showcases the possibilities to a sustainable food production how 3D printing food could maximize abilities of what we have. This vision involves a structural shift and change to our current food production also the lifestyle in the next 50 years, the shape and dynamic are based on existing research and ideas that could apply as a realistic solution.

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We are running out of time

Our practice, value, and choice of food has expanded, changed and adjusted in the last 100 years. This has not only shaped society’s lifestyle, but also the way the agricultural industry operates. We are paralyzed by the reality of an overwhelming supply and choice we have in food. In 2012, Saravia-Matus et al’s JRC Scientific Report noted: “reports from both international organizations and the agricultural industry have claimed that in order to meet the food requirements of the nine billion population of 2050, an expansion of food production of 70 percent is needed”. When the world’s population reaches its peak we will be facing a global food shortage. Food production will not be able to maintain our current diet unless we start to make changes now. Prospect is a project that offers a vision of possibilities of how sustainable food production, including 3D printing food, could maximise capabilities of what we have.Prospect also illustrates the shape and dynamic based on existing research and ideas that could be applied as a realistic solution.

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The sustainable design principle

Enzo Manzini is a design strategist who specializes in sustainable design structure. The world is now experiencing concern and threat of global food crisis due to the rise of population, high demand for food & resources and unethical farming in agriculture and production. Karl Marx’s Social Metabolism theory accuses the development of the world market of pushing the process of breaking the nutrient cycle, especially with the use of chemical and mechanization of agriculture.

However, Manzini determined this as a matter of responsibilities and reality. He sees our population as capabilities and solutions rather than as problems. He suggests we should utilize the abundant resources we have and use opportunities and services of the current economy as a solution to set sustainable future trends. He proposed the idea of a sustainable future structure, a “green and social network economy”, which is a highly efficient service for sustainable use of water, energy, food, material, waste, and land. This idea involves four key elements to operate: small, local, connect and open.



Small does not necessarily mean small size, it is a node of the network that allows possibilities for the future. Large variety and choice of food often paralyze consumers’ decisions as it requires more time and space for the service or product to perform. By removing the overwhelming amount of variety, it provides a direct and straightforward relationship between consumers and suppliers. Consumers could make their decision directly based on what they need. It is easier to maintain (as service and product) and allows the best efficiency and supplies within its market, making the product much more sustainable for the future.



By offering a crystalize platform with the capability of sharing via the internet, there will be easier access to, or exchange of information within, individuals and communities. Connect also means the face to face local connection such as neighbors in one’s suburb, colleagues etc. This will encourage achieving the idea of “zero-mile food” which will be the new and ideal relationship between production and consumption, as fewer resources are required to maintain freshness, transportation and human resources. Being small and connected will create a sustainable community and society, creating what is not in the past - generate the unforeseeable.


Connect & Open

Localizing production will boost the cultural root of food, strengthening the connection between people, small space, and production. This shapes relationship and identity between service and consumers. Use of crystallized platform such as the internet could increase the transparency of the product so consumers could understand the information and product in a short amount of time, and find it easy to exchange information. Local production and a clear and open platform encourage a positive and immediate relationship between suppliers and consumers, fulfilling the exact needs of consumers.

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Food shortage scarcity

Global warming and approaching resource shortages have been the world’s worries in the past decade, with many research and statements made and published in newspapers and magazines regarding the global food crisis. In December 2010, the TIME magazine claimed that the global population will grow to 9.2 billion by 2050. If we don’t change our behavior in how we eat and farm, we will run out of food by 2050 and raise the temperature of the planet by 2°C. Over 35% of Earth’s permanent ice-free land is used for food production, which has been the greatest driver of deforestation and associated biodiversity loss.

Our food production will no longer be sustainable when the population reaches its peak, there will be less food for a bigger population. Countries that have less ability to grow crops and provide survival amount of food will eventually suffer and become abandoned, richer countries will have the advantage in choosing, and poorer people will remain poor and not have minimum supplies of food.


Energy fuel & natural resources shortage scarcity

The Wall Street Journal published an article regarding the shortages of resources and its economic effect. Jim Leape, Director General of the Worldwide Nature Fund for Nature International, says we are currently using 50% more resources than Earth can sustainably produce, we will run out by 2030 if we don’t change course, even two planets would still not be enough. 

This means sustainability will become a concern for industries using particular materials exclusively to produce technological products, as they will no longer be available. The latter class of materials has come under particular scrutiny because they are vitally independent in smartphones, hybrid cars, wind turbines and computer etc. About 90% of world’s rare material is from China, yet mines are projected to run dry in 15-20 years. Likewise, indium will most likely be depleted in 10 years; platinum in 16 years; silver in 20 years; and aluminum in 80 years. This means that even kitchenware won’t be available as materials will no longer exist for production



50% of the world’s food goes to waste due to poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. There is additional waste created throughout the process starting from being grown, harvested, transportation to eating. Oxford Researcher of food Hanna Tuomisto states that approximately 800,000 tonnes of food, which equals to 2 million Euros, is wasted every year in Britain.

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For the past decade, 3D printing food has been an emerging technological focus as an investigation and development in the industry to solve the world’s hunger issue. It opens the opportunity to an efficient and nutritional diet and additionally cuts down an incredible cost and waste. 

The trend of this technology allows us to extract nutrients from fresh produce and turn it into powder for better storage up to 30 years. This powder “ink cartridge” can be combined print with oil and water for meals. NASA has already begun its research on 3d printer technology that was initially designed for astronauts to have more variety in what they eat in space, and it is also a potential food solution project if the human race moves to Mars when Earth is no longer suitable to live.


Concept drawings

Proposed urban planning concepts

When is it happening?

More content is included such as precedence research, concept scenarios, food consumption/conversion, urban planning details in this book. If you are interested to read the full version of Prospect you can reach out via email.

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