After months of planning and preparations – we begin!
Welcome to the Walker Kitchen Lab!
The day began with donuts. Appropriately enough.
Then it was introductions around the collective. We are composed of designers, landscape architects, mechanical engineers, artists, and educators. An eclectic collective.
Then an introduction to the project as a research project: the Walker Kitchen Lab as a platform for experimentation. What are we experimenting with? Two things: new forms of design and new forms of learning. These “new forms” might be called social design or social practice, learning ecologies or communities of learners. They are characterized by three qualities: they are public, they are collaborative, and they have an agenda. One of the tasks of the research, then, is to develop markers of these qualities, so that we might better understand, describe, critique, and inform these practices.
So what is going to be created? How will the Walker Kitchen Lab take form?
The basis for the physical components of the Kitchen Lab are a set of boxes. These boxes stack, they can be transported by being carried or with a bike cart, they have a shelf to hold trays within them, and beyond that, they are open to interpretation.
Later in the afternoon, our first guest collaborator joined us: Barry Kudrowitz. Barry has a background in engineering and toy design, and he led us through a series of games and activities, to prepare us for collaboration in brainstorming and design. This was followed by our initial brainstorming, through which we identified key activities, objects, and issues of the kitchen. Finally, we documented and shared our perspectives on what makes Minneapolis and St. Paul distinctive — these ideas and issues will be what shapes the objects and events of the Walker Kitchen Lab into forms that have social relevance and local salience.