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395 Alma Tray

Date: November 2020
Designed by: March Gut
Credit: Dezeen

Design studio March Gut has designed a socially distanced serving tray for the Biohotel Schwanen in the Austrian Alps. Made of maple wood, the Alma tray is 1.2 metres, just long than Austria’s social distancing requirement of 1 metre. The tray’s design allows all dishes and cutlery to be served in a single flourish. A rounded foot on one end allows the server to slide the tray across the table with a single hand, presenting all of the food and drink for a group at once without leaning over diners. The tray is intended to be left on the table for the duration of the meal, allowing restaurant-goers to return their dishes to the board upon completion.

March Gut designed the Alma tray with a view to maintaining the sacred act of communal eating whilst adhering to pandemic protocol. The studio designed and produced the entire product in lockdown, communicating with a carpenter and Biohotel Schwanen Owner Emanuel Moosbrugger online and sending prototypes via post. 

"We prefer to call it physical distancing rather than social distancing because halting all social life brings with it an unacceptable economic crisis and mental stress as well," March has said of the design. ”People in small groups or living in the same household should be able to eat together, go to the theatre or an exhibition, so designers are now in the position to find creative solutions to deal with the challenges of these times. "

The Alma tray has been nominated for the Dezeen Awards 2020 in the workplace design category.