Representing the effect of Culture-based Principles of Iranian Lifestyle in Designing Culinary Tools and Products

There was an assumption saying that behind every daily device, especially cooking devices, there exists a culture effect from the user’s lifestyle, which evolved through time and has so many factors involved in this evolution. The goal of this research was to study these incidents’ effects on designing everyday objects. So the data gathered will help designers design durable and adaptable products with daily lifestyle in the kitchen.


Note: This thesis was done in Persian. The text is a translated selection of the research, but all the data represented are not converted and are in Persian.

Living in the information age changes everything in our life, even in our daily and local life. It is easier to know more about other cultures and adopt them in our lifestyles no matter the place we are living in. One of these consequences is in cuisine cultures. Tasting and cooking different cuisines have been more accessible. It is possible to cook food without traveling to the origin of it and be accustomed to the culture behind it and even sometimes knowing the root of it.


But cultures are evolving through time and needless to say they affect other aspects of people following that culture. Iran is a middle eastern country which had a lot of exchanging products with other countries led to have influenced by them. These influences caused Iran’s culture to lose its identity and be a mixture of east and west cultures, so product design in Iran is changed as well. Nowadays, products are not designed based on Iranian culture, but other countries designs inspire them.

Questions this thesis will answer:

1. what are the reasons for cultural eclecticism in the Iranian lifestyle?

2. How cultural transformations changed the Iranian lifestyle?

3. How culture shaped the design of culinary products throughout the years?

4. What are the most crucial factors in changing the design of culinary products?


Activity theory was chosen to use as the primary research method in this research. The foundational concept of activity theory is human activity, which is understood as purposeful, mediated, and transformative interaction between human beings and the world (1). Along with CHAT framework, which is a cultural-historical activity theory the historical roots, main ideas, and justifications of the culinary products were introduced. Every element in the picture shown below were investigated and took into consideration.

Based on the purpose of the research and also its finding, two variables were chosen as the main factors: time and artifacts. The timeline below demonstrates the most compelling incidents in changing Iranian culture and, therefore, Iranian cuisine.

Data Gathering:

To prove these findings, an experiment was designed. It had six sections with different purposes and different questions to answer, which will be elaborated in the following sections.

It was essential to gather information from all around Iran which has different weather, different cultures, and so very different cuisines. Telegram was the most used messaging application in Iran (now the accessibility to it is limited); it has various features like sending voice messages, videos, pictures, and more importantly, it can create a chatbot in it.


Questions in this part were related to the place they are living in. The people who are in the same place, their accommodation, its architecture characteristic and the placement of their kitchen and its characteristics, the distribution of the cooking, shopping, and kitchen-related duties in the house between the people in the house.


Number of meals cooked in the week, Number of foods eaten outside, takeaways, and using catering services. Usage of prepared food or fast food. Different kinds of foods and cuisines cooked. The last question was about the user preferences in automation in the cooking process.


The origin of the foods shown in the pictures was the main purpose of this section. The user ability to distinguish different cuisines and point out their similarities.


In this section, a selection of non-ordinary products was introduced, and the user should guess the function and also the origin of them. Chosen products had different uses in different cultures. The purpose of this section was to rank the level of awareness about inventions and the need for these solutions in the Iranian food culture.

Also, the characteristics of the ideal kitchen spatial design and products were asked in this section. The answer to these questions is a great standard for designers to take into consideration while designing for Iranian users.

Favorite food:

Favorite food can tell so much about a person. It is undoubtedly affected by different factors, from family background to personal preferences and culture. But it also can indicate the level of other cosines’ influence on Iranian lifestyle and preferences. As it is shown, the percentage of people with favorite food from Iranian cuisine is deficient.


The shopping list is an indicator of ingredients and also products which are going to use to prepare and cook them. In the past Iranian people mostly grow their ingredients themselves or get it from a local market,. Still, now modern life caused them to buy most of the ingredients as prepared, so the answer to this question was a help to understanding the level of respecting cooking traditions in Iranian families.


Pictures in this section were chosen in a way that the usage of them is clear and understandable and the user should answer whether they have it and using it or they feel they are useful and want to have it.

The materials of ideal products were another question in this section so the designers can take these into consideration as well.

Mehmani (Feasts):

Iranian people are so welcoming and open-hearted, so Guests are very important to them. It is very common among Iranian families to change their daily routine and daily way of preparing, serving, and cooking food when they have guests. These kinds of traditions were supported by big houses and living with extended families but now the architecture of the places changed and people are more individualists than before.

The questions in this section are about the number of people which every household can serve as a guest from different aspects like the culinary they have, the table, the kind of food they are going to serve, the differences between their daily cooking style and the time they have guests, and more importantly whether they outsource any of the food cooking and preparing process.


In the last section, users were asked to design a product for cooking meat, so their imagination can be compared with the current products or concepts.


Culture and design are shaping the world around us. In this thesis, the effects of culture on the design cycle of Iranian culinary products were investigated and analyzed. Iranian foods need a lot of time to prepare and cook. Also there are always special ingredients used in them. Modern people don’t have that time and focus on following this cuisine unless for special occasions. But designers can change this by designing modern culture based Iranian products so this delicious cuisine can take its place back in families and last longer.

Hope this research and finding can be a guide for designers to accomplish this goal.

The designer’s guidebook (in Persian) can be download here.