Plant-inspired tableware is made from bioplastics

plant utensils
via Qiyan Deng

Designer Qiyan Deng has created a line of tableware that's inspired by plants. Not only is the plastic made from cornstarch—known as PLA plastic—the shapes and colors imitate fruits and vegetables. Deng created the collection, called Graft, while working on her master's degree at the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Deng tells FastCompany that hopes the design will hint at the material she used:

“I would love to introduce bioplastic to people without saying so by words,” designer Qiyan Deng tells Co.Design. “It’s a beautiful material that deserves design concern, not only moral exhortation. Since bioplastics are made from plants, why can’t I just make them look like themselves?”

PLA plastic is designed to biodegrade, but this is of little good if the product ends up in the trash anyway. TreeHugger has covered some of the environmental concerns surrounding corn-based plastics in the past. Some argue that it's better to wash and reuse dishes, instead of making a product that's designed for just one use, even if it's fully biodegradable or recyclable.

However, the provocative thing about Deng's design is that you won't want to throw them in the compost, subverting the typical approach to "disposable" cutlery and dishes. She writes on her site:
"Texture and form in nature autonomously exist with a function that can be utilized for another purpose. A celery stem for example, serves as handle for the fork; a petal of artichoke then becomes the bowl of spoon. By waking both visual and haptic sensation it brings along a question: Will you throw them away easily?"

Plant-inspired tableware is made from bioplastics
Designer Qiyan Deng creates biodegradable dishes that you'll have a hard time throwing away.