First spotted in the Christmas catalogue of London institution Fortnum & Mason in 1914, the spork – a combined knife, fork and spoon – was originally designed for army officers during the First World War. Since then, the utilitarian utensil has been reinvented many times by various different food take-away outlets across the globe but the latest incarnation by its original inventors is the most refined yet.
Keen to replace the conventional cutlery previously provided to customers in its food hall with a single item, Fortnum & Mason elected to reintroduce the humble spork as part of its picnic and take-away offering. First, they needed to overcome the multitasking tool's inherent design flaws; with a scoop too shallow to eat soup with and prongs too short to pierce meat, Fortnum & Mason enlisted strategy-led industrial design studio Map to take the compromised design back to the drawing board.
After analysing the various meals and food types in the store’s food hall and tea salons, Map rigorously tested their revamped utensil via an extensive process of model-making and prototyping.
The result is Tritensil; a sleek, bio-plastic design made in Fortnum & Mason’s signature Eau de Nil colour. Available in both left and right-handed versions, the Tritensil features a recess in its neck that provides a more comfortable grip when being used as a knife for both cutting and when spreading afternoon tea staples like clotted cream and jam. In addition, the fork's prongs have been moved from the centre to the edge of the utensil so as to improve functionality when eating salads.
Sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint were at the top of Map's design agenda, so the choice of a plant-based bio-plastic material was an obvious one. The Tritensil can be recycled after use, and offers a 46 per cent weight reduction and 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the food hall's former disposable cutlery sets. For professional picnickers, the store has also created a stainless steel version that will be offered as an accessory in their popular hampers.