Edible Futures | Design Development Exhibition

The aim of the Design Development Review is to demonstrate how the young designers are interpreting their brief in connection to the context they are working with, as to test how their ideas fit in the chosen existing space.

The Design Development makes sure that the narrative, user and actions/behaviours, which were the focus of the brief, are translated into spatial solutions, developing the architectural programme in the details at the same time.

In order to exploit the site potential, the key to understand the interventions is the storyboard that communicates how the building is used: the narrative, sequence of space and hierarchy can be tested through diagrams, orthographic drawings and 3D models.

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Edible Futures Ideas Review

The aim of the Ideas Review is to demonstrate the design tactics and approach to the brief and site, testing a strategy of intervention for the chosen building and beginning to explore form and programme.

Starting from a defined brief, focusing on the actions/functions, users and context, the Ideas Review helps our young designers to make sure that the narrative, user and actions/behaviors defined in the brief, are beginning to translate into spatial solutions.

They worked with diagrams and simple models first and contextualizing these within the building envelope, then with a range of materials that allowed them to manipulate form and articulate the relationship between old and new that you want to establish.

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Edible Futures Ideas in progress

Scrolling through the first ideas review, some amazing diagrams, concepts and visualizations presented for the Edible Futures Lowline design projects by Politecnico di Milano students.

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Edible Models

Some frames from the clips of the edible models prepared by our quarantined designers in their kitchens to present the spatial and material qualities of their researches and ideas for #ediblefutures – hope one day we will taste the final models of the #lowline redesign!

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Edible Futures | coronavirus + research

Despite the Coronavirus spreading in Italy, we thought to make a start anyway recording few videos to start working on our schedule and trying to make the most of our time by letting our young designers starting working at the individual research part of the course.

To prompt the design decisions, the students needed to research what Edible Future might mean, exploring three different main research streams:

A/ Food Politics

B/ Food Cultures 

C/ Food Futures 

From the research they gathered information to underpin the ideas for their design project in order to start investigating the given site, producing evidence of these investigations. 

Both the site analysis and the thematic research aim at providing the framework for the design proposal. The students are working towards the production of a series of outcomes that explore narratives, qualities and materiality in relation to their research, also identifying case studies of Edible Futures spaces.

At the same time, the Adaptive Reuse aspect of a continuous reinvention has been investigated, challenging the existing architectural fabric and context, in order to come up with new ideas to re-use existing spaces and to put forward the students’ interpretation to meet the user’s needs and desires – going through tools and strategies for adapting buildings. 

See the students’ works here

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Edible Futures

Edible Futures / Landscape and Interior – Spatial Design Studio 2 @Polimi 

–  Food Politics, Food Cultures and Food Futures  –

‘Food is entering a period of radical technological reinvention that some predict will be as world-changing as the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The potential for technology to disrupt how we grow, distribute and experience food is catalyzing global conversations about the needs, values and aspirations embedded in our food systems.’¹

Food, its production and consumption is obviously fundamental to our biology, but the invisible infrastructure that feeds us is overlaid with what Dan Barber describes as ‘a web of relationships’ where our health, social status and cultural heritage intersect with both local and global politics. 

According to Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, in their introduction to Food: Bigger Than the Plate, food ‘shines a light onto social inequality and difference, while acting as the ultimate equalizer.’²  Food can bring us together and it can set us apart. It facilitates social interaction, bonds families and communities, and provides an income to many. Yet it also highlights the gap between rich and poor. Access to good quality food is also a growing concern, for where there is food poverty there is also a plethora of related health problems largely linked to obesity – really cheap food is bad for us and increases the likelihood of ill health and even early death. 

Food creates waste. Food packaging is also a huge concern, especially where this includes non-reusable plastics. It is clear that as individual consumers we need to interrogate the choices that we make with regards to what we consume and how. 

As designers we have also been concerned with the relationship between food and pleasure. Eating is as much a sensorial experience as it is a biological need, and the environments within which we enjoy food have the capacity to transform our complex relationship to it – ‘any vision for the future of food needs to account for deliciousness and pleasure (for all), both as a goal in its own right and because pleasure is a powerful motivational force for change.’³

activity + typology of use + topic

The intention of the Design Studio is to arrive at a set of design proposals that intersect the production, trade, preparation and/ or consumption of food as well as its waste products, exploring the typologies of Food Politics, Food Cultures and Food Futures.

Read the Brief Intro here

¹ Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, eds., Food: Bigger Than the Plate (V&A Publishing, 2019), p.11.
² Flood and Rosenthal Sloan, ibid, p.21.
³ ibid, p.25.
Edible Futures is a design brief that has been devised and written by Francesca Murialdo and Naomi House for the Interior Architecture programme at Middlesex University. The brief, in its different versions, according to the context and year group, has been used so far for year 2 and year 3 student and translated and adopted at Hong Kong University Space  and ICS College of Arts in Tokio.
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Writing Spaces|Workshop@ polimi 8-12 May 2017

The Workshop Week at Scuola del Design-Politecnico di Milano Bovisa has been a wonderful opportunity to further develop a discourse on #WritingSpaces that kicked off at Middlesex University few months ago.

Together with two colleagues, Ruth Bonazza and Peter Thomas (Learning Enhancement Team, Middlesex University) we’ve discussed, questioned and explored the idea that #WritingSpaces are able to stimulate and support the making of ideas through writing.

#WritingSpaces are a physical translation of a mental space: writing, no matter if what we write is and essay or a to-do list, is a self reflective practice that help us to neaten thoughts.

“People dont’ have ideas, they make them”*

The research, undertaken by Ruth Bonazza, Francesca Murialdo and Peter Thomas (Middlesex University) consisted of 3 different phases; the first one, through an online questionnaire, was directed to gain quantitative and qualitative informations about writing practices (How much do you write? Which kind of text do you write? Where do you write? Which tools do you use?). The second step was developed through conversations in small groups (Focus Groups) to discuss and identify space qualities favourable to the writing process.

This last stage, based on the outcomes from the previous ones, transforms speculations into designed spatial proposals.

The brief put emphasis on some of the issues raised from the previous phases: collaboration, identity and ownership are key ideas that the students of Scuola del Design, together with a small group of students from the School of Design Ohio State University, explored with their diverse projects.

Permeability, a given set of locations and contexts (public building/retail environment, library/bookshop, classroom, leftovers – corridors, footways,..) and writing formats have shaped the projects.

The ideas presented on Friday, after an intense week of work, are rooted in an accurate investigation about writing behaviours and practices that initiated the discussion.

Both Waves and Writer’s Destination choose airports as the ideal location to set up two very different projects. Waves (Mara Faravelli, Samantha Nemeth, Francesca Scorza, Tanya Soriato, Alice Tinelli, Amanda Viell) works on the concept of proximity and isolation, creating site generic space-furniture able to populate different contexts; Writer’s Destination (Giulia Bazzani, Hacer Beril Beden, Camilla Berruti, Chiara Bianco, Achille Erin, Katie Riley) focuses on the degree of customisation that such a popular space needs in order to meet different needs.

Libraries and bookshops have been identified by the research as an inspirational place where the presence of books trigger osmotically further words. Comic Nook (Anthony Josuè Favitta, Giulia Ferrara, Alex Getz, Jonathan Lambert, Silvia Rossi) introduces the comic novel as a very specific writing product able to merge words with graphics; exploiting and occupying the spaces between libraries, Comic Nook provides a futuristic pod able to gather around you needed references (it includes a service design feature that connects with the library catalogue) and other innovative tools. Starting from different premises Still Frame (Francesca Notaro, Costanza Diletta Lucia Previti, Fanny, Alyssa Miller, Catherine Renault, Laura Peshek) is an elegant system that is connected and generated from bookshelves: the thin steel frames are counterbalanced by coloured rubber surfaces to sit or write in two different settings, a more informal email-mode and a more structured longer tasks writing mode.

Origami (Claudia Casciaro, Andrea Cola, Francesco Di Girolamo, Giuseppe Francesco Giurfa, Emily Khouri, Ximeng Huang) aims to transform ideas in a university context: the structure unfolds and remodels ordinary classrooms generating a sequence of spaces able to provoke and enhance the exchange of ideas. The same context, a university classroom, has been explored also by Muro della Creativita‘ (Bianca Adams, Emily Datsko, Marta De Marie, Chloè Denniston, Matteo Delledonne, Didem Parlas) that, with an architectural approach, provides a space within a space: every detail questions how space supports creativity and writing.

The last two projects confronts leftover spaces in two very different ways. Slide & Study (Brianna Branko, Delia Ferraris, Vladislav Kotov, Elizabeth Riddel, Davide Maurice Weissy, Valeria Zucco) is able to activate corridors in an educational context providing a customizable temporary provision of desks and seats that the user can arrange in different arrangements according to needs. Brain Train (Coralita Juliana Arnold, Fabrizio Carbotti, Maria Beatrice Finotto, Mattia Marzorati, Mandy Pavlich) is situated in train stations and, by exploring different writing tools, provides a surface to write: contributions are stored and displayed as layered memories on the collaborative ‘monument’, exploring writing as a social activity.

Here are few pictures of the process

Here some of student’s work

#WritingSpaces by Francesca Murialdo with Cristina Foglia

Thanks to Michele Capuani, Jeffrey Haase  and Alberto Ghirardello for the help

* Carruthers, M. (1998), The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric and the Making of Images, 400–1200, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 5)
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