The world’s biggest fork is in front of the Alimentarium
At its official inauguration ceremony in September 2009, County Counsellor Jacqueline de Quattro highlighted the symbolic power such works can acquire, as with the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, the Manneken Pis in Brussels and now the Fork in Vevey. It has held the record in the Guinness World Records since 2014 as the world’s tallest fork, surpassing the record held until then by the city of Tsubame in Japan, with its fork which is 2.15 metres high.
A grand 450 kg stainless steel lady
The Neuchâtel-based visual artist Jean-Pierre Zaugg (who died in June 2012) designed the work of art, known as La Fourchette (the Fork). It was commissioned to celebrate the Alimentarium’s 10th anniversary in 1995. A Vevey steelwork contractor, Georges Favre, made the statute in stainless steel. It depicts a monumental 8-metre high table fork, 1.3-metre wide at the tines at its base. The Museum was granted permission to embed it in Lake Geneva, 5 metres off Quay Perdonnet, from April to October the same year, for its History of Objects exhibition.
The Fork’s trials and tribulations
Its great success prompted the Alimentarium, backed by the Tourist Office and the Vevey Town Council, to keep the Fork permanently, just off the quays. In fact, this “new entertaining and touristic object […] has aroused the curiosity and interest of many foreign visitors from the moment it was installed and has led to many positive reactions from tourists, passing guests and journalists”1. In spite of this, in 1996 the Alimentarium did not manage to obtain the legal permission to leave the exhibit as a permanent fixture. Its critics only saw it as an advertising totem and feared other gigantic objects may follow it to also take a dip in the lake. The Fork was thus sent away to Littau (in the canton of Lucerne), to embellish the garden outside the Berndorf cutlery factory.
In September 2007 however, the giant utensil returned to Lake Geneva for the Couverts Découverts temporary exhibition. In the spring of the same year, a support committee circulated a petition appealing to keep it. The Vevey Town Council in turn took steps which, this time, were successful, as at the end of 2008, the canton decreed that the Fork could remain as part of Lake Geneva’s landscape.
A real landmark for the Museum on Vevey’s lakeside, our giant fork intrigues passers-by and tourists, who compete with each other for the most imaginative way to pose for a photo. The photo competition launched by the Alimentarium in 2014 shows how much creativity the statute has inspired: You can discover the results on Instagram now.
Guinness World Record