FoodRail_Designing Concept and Project
Eleni Papantoniou & Maria Koinidou
Advisors: Apostolos Kalfopoulos & Stavros Vergopoulos
One amazing fact about our school is that it allows all students to pick the subject and mentors of their own preference for their master thesis. Our team’s personal mission/challenge was to design a train that travels around the world, spreading the idea of slow food and gastronomic tourism. People would go on and off the train, as well as various cooking materials from each place. The basic structure consists of 13 wagons which host the stages of food cycle: cultivation, processing, storage, preparation, cooking, consumption, recycling. The way this system works is by permanent staff, as well as with participation from travellers who are interested to experience a part of the procedure. From time to time the train stops at specific areas in nature and opens its gates to throw an open-air festival with food, local product market and special events.
//Seed: The beginning of the life cycle. A means of memory and material preservation, disproportionately massive for its size. A capacitor of secret and inactive information, until its activation at an appropriate time. A seed contains the idea of spatial identity, the adjustment or not at specific conditions of each environment, the possible deviation in a produced result.
// Metabolism: The evolution of a living system – institution. One (perpetual) succession of alternating situations, participating in a non-finite recycling process.
// Multi-locality: The “taste of the earth”. The inextricable link of an area with the products it produces. The morphological diversity of soil, moisture, light, altitude. The cultivation, the raw material, the different approaches to food treatment. A number of factors, open to alchemies and experiments – a kaleidoscope of flavor.
// Journey: An experience alternation. Man – explorer. The flavors as part of the “dialect” of each locus. The culinary tourism as a cultural phenomenon.
// Experience: Taste (and smell) as triggers that activate a memory. A feeling cultivated over time from past experiences in one’s life, to cause unexpected associations.
// Synergy: The preparation and consumption of food. The symbiosis. The making of a community.
// Attractor: A different approach to food productionand eating. A space where materials and stories are being cooked. A machine in motion that creates events.
// Symposium: The companionship: To have-food-together. Τhe meal as a ritual of euphoria and social interaction. How the order becomes a disarray, as a trace of life. The distinction between the verbs ‘dine’ and ‘eat, the first of which contains the meaning of collectivity, while the second implies the mere consumption.
Who influences you graphically?
Our graphical influence originates from a variety of creative fields. Our collection of design sources and references includes, among others, the work of MOS Architects and Note Design Studio, as well as graphic novels like Asterios Polyp and experimentations from the students of AA School. Another great source of inspiration for this particular project of ours was a colorful and fascinating videogame called “Monument Valley”.
What is your take on the notion of the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
The decision to use axonometric drawings for this project was taken quite early in the process, as we are fascinated by their ability to describe and conceal information at the same time. The way we see it, axonometric drawings are extremely explanatory, as they can provide all the necessary details that describe a project, in a clear and explicit way. However, simultaneously, as all linear drawings, they do not always depict a situation as it realistically is, but rather tend to leave possibilities open for interpretation. This can be an intriguing procedure, since every viewer acquires an active part on the drawing, using their imagination to fill these gaps.
What dictated the graphic language for this project?
It was crucial for us that we use two different graphic languages to represent our project, as we wanted to convey two very distinct narratives.
When it comes to the wagon axonometrics, we used a more mechanical, monochrome and detailed approach, yet inviting to the eye for exploration. Their purpose was to resemble technical blueprints, as they describe how the train works as a machine.
On the other hand, the three colorful case studies, each of them representing a gastronomical event, were illustrated with a vibrant, festive palette. Although they are representations of realistic situations, they were conceived and designed with a hint of fairydust.
How important is the diagram in communicating?
To us, the diagram is one of the most efficient ways to communicate visually an intention almost instantly to a viewer’s eye. Its simplicity can turn complex ideas into a compact and understandable piece of information. This said, there is no wonder why diagrams are widely used among the architecture world. Not only do they convey information to the viewer, but also assist the designer to have a better understanding on their own work, while producing them. For this project, it was important for us to design the concept, as well as the train itself. That is why we chose to use diagrams along with drawings, as they work complementary, the first depicting how the project works, while the latter explaining how it is designed.
Maria Koinidou and Eleni Papantoniou are two recent architecture graduates, based in Thessaloniki and Amsterdam