Smartphones have transformed the way we eat meals. Between texting, tweeting, checking in and Instagramming the fare before you, it seems cell phones have become another utensil at the table. To some, the idea is disdainful, while others are more mindful of the incessant need to be constantly connected. To resolve this point of contention, Dublin-based designer Paula O’Connor created a tablecloth to alleviate tensions over phone etiquette while eating.
The Zip It Tablecloth is a part of the designer’s “Dining Together Matters” final thesis at the Dublin Institute of Technology, which means the prototype is not for sale (yet). The decorative sheath provides inconspicuous pockets for diners to slip those smartphones into and engage in human conversation. The product is part of the rising trend of finding every possible way to stay connected, including a shower curtain tailored for iPads.
Made from 100% Irish linen, the pockets are distinguished with screen-printed words like “speak, chat, talk, gossip” — in case you forgot how to communicate verbally. “It offers a new solution within a traditional context,” the product’s site explains. While it’s a neat idea, simply not texting or tweeting at the table or slipping a phone into purse or pocket works just as well.