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DesignInquiry selects a topic to explore at an intensive gathering of presentations, discussions, and workshops. This gathering is an alternative to the one-way delivery of a standard conference: each participant contributes and is equally responsible for the quality of the gathering; a collaborative production where we both learn and teach the aesthetics and ethics that are central to Design (and life). Days become nights; the program doesn’t stop when dinner is served.

We began building the clay oven at a site close to the ocean. Though it was perfect for the daytime high tide…..the lunar high tide was much higher and on checking it the next morning it was flooded. The mishap, however proved to be more successful in creating greater interaction with the tools, and a convivial space because of the new sites proximity to the barn and the house. This space became an extension of the make-shift barn kitchen and so as people tend to congregate around the kitchen, we all fashioned another gathering place around the ovens. Conversation during the week ranged from food (of course), family history to religion to the nature of design, and cooking. Our questions entering into this week and after were focused on how individuals interact with space and tools. In what ways did these spaces create conversation, is it only through fundamentals of fire and food that they became gathering spaces or was it another set of factors? Would this tool create the same type of gathering or convivial space in another situation?

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