Marije Vogelzang of Proef, Designer and Restaurateur

Back in 2000, when Marije Vogelzang had graduated from Eindhoven with a product-design degree and begun turning a school project — a funeral table set with all-white cuisine — into fodder for her nascent career, food design was still a relatively unknown discipline. Martí Guixé was already making experimental tapas and rice wine bottles with edible corks, but Arabeschi di Latte didn't exist yet, Jennifer Rubell's first art-brunch was still eight years away, and other young would-be practitioners like Franke Elshout, Annelies Hermsen, Katja Gruijters, and Janina Loeve were still just a twinkle in Li Edelkoort's eye. By the time Vogelzang founded Proef, her Amsterdam restaurant and food lab, in 2004, she was at the leading edge of a movement that aimed to use creativity and critical thinking to heighten the sensory and emotional experience of eating. Ten years, countless interactive food events, one book, and a TED Talk later, her ideas are a constant source of curiosity for those both within the design world and beyond. We at Sight Unseen have personally been fans of Vogelzang's work since we first took a hammer to her clay-baked vegetables at the London Design Festival in 2008 — an opinion only reinforced as we sipped artisanal cocktails laced with edible flowers at Proef this past winter — so we tracked her down to find out more about her own personal adventures in eating.

Moritz Waldemeyer, Designer and Engineer

When the New York Times profiled the German-born, London-based designer-engineer Moritz Waldemeyer back in 2007, it took great pains to point out that — despite his studies in mechatronics and his background in R&D at Phillips — he was no pocket-protector-sporting, Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing "techno-wizard nerd." But the amazing irony of those assertions turned out to be that in the four years since, Waldemeyer has gone on to rub shoulders with the kinds of people most designers would scarcely dream of being in the same room with. Having crossed from hard science into pioneering his own niche, marrying engineering and experimental lighting technologies with design and performance, Waldemeyer has seen his robotic dresses sashay down Hussein Chalayan's runways, his laser-sprouting jackets worn onstage by Rihanna and Bono, and his light-up guitars and mic stands in the grips of Kylie Minogue and OK Go. He's a techno wizard, alright, but by proxy alone, and certainly by virtue of his pioneering work, he's cooler than the vast majority of the population. Having rubbed shoulders with Waldemeyer ourselves, we decided to invite him to kick off another new column we're launching this week, called "The Essentials," in which we'll invite important and intriguing personalities to share the things that have become indispensable to their work and home life.