deltagare i workshop
Photo: Maja Kristin Nylander

Recycling, learning and working together when the students build Frihamnen's outdoor kitchen

On site in the Prototyp Gothenburg area in Frihamnen are six students from Embedded design. They are all in their first year of the MFA programme and have worked on this project during the spring, from idea, via sketches and user tests to the work today - building and seeing the finished outdoor kitchen take shape.

It is a beautiful but cold morning in Frihamnen, the sun makes the hoarfrost glisten on the asphalt around the people who have gathered for today's work shift. Today is the second day of three for the construction of the outdoor kitchen. The students have been divided into four groups that are each responsible for a kitchen module on wheels that will be able to be combined into a flexible kitchen.

Lisa Kristiansson is one of the students at Embedded design who this day works on building the kitchen module that will contain a sink.

- The sink itself is recycled, but so is the wooden material. The wood over there is from a sauna that was to going be rebuilt, and these are parts of our stand at the furniture fair earlier this year. We will also make a form of mosaic of blue mussels, it will both be beautiful and tell a story about the place and the background to the construction, says Lisa

It is not only the material that breathes sustainability, but also the functions of the kitchen. The sink will, for example, purify the water with the help of activated carbon, so that it can then be used, for example, to watering the area's trees, this solution is a must because the kitchen will not be connected to a drain.

Outdoor kitchen as a meeting place
As early as last autumn, students from HDK-Valand were involved in “Omställningslabbet” in Frihamnen, a part of Prototyp Göteborg, which is a part of the initiative for Gothenburg's 400th anniversary. In this earlier stage, it was students from the bachelor's program in Design who contributed to a preliminary study where they helped ask questions to assess the needs, functions, and conditions of the area. Early on, people within the project recognized the need for an outdoor kitchen as meeting place - and an enabler for future construction projects. However, it was Maria Bodin, project manager at the Center for Sea and Society, at Gothenburg University, who placed the order for an outdoor kitchen from Prototyp Gothenburg. Maria is involved in another project in Frihamnen - the marine allotment, and within this project they had a need for an outdoor kitchen to be able to prepare food from the sea for educational purposes.

Cecilia Helsing, who works as exhibition manager at Prototyp Gothenburg, believes that the outdoor kitchen will fulfill an important function for future building projects.

- We have only started with our area here in Frihamnen and will continue the development throughout the spring. The idea is that the kitchen, which will be mobile and have a place here in our area, can be used by other building projects and workshops. Being able to cook together is central for being able to do these projects, says Cecilia.

Cecilia Helsing porträttbild
Cecilia Helsing
Photo: Maja Kristin Nylander

The construction takes place together with two carpenters and an architect from Egnahemsfabriken, who contribute with structure and safety for everyone involved. The carpenters from Egnahemsfabriken are also educators within construction and have a long experience of instructing and building together with people without previous experience. It is also Egnahemsfabriken that has been responsible for the translation of the students' design sketches into building sketches. This has been an educational process for the students where the sketches have been sent back and forth during discussions with an openness to compromise. During Thursday, which was the first day of construction, students from KV Konstskola, which is a preparatory art school in Gothenburg, also participated.

deltagare i workshop
Natalie Novik (pink hat), Caitlin Hartman (headphones) and Lisa Kristiansson with the carpenter Isak Berglund.
Photo: Maja Kristin Nylander

The importance of collaboration
Also involved in the construction is Helena Hansson, who is a teacher at Embedded design. Helena believes that it is precisely this process - to learn how to cooperate with other occupational groups and understanding each other's professional areas and skills. This is an important part of the project.

Our students see themselves as "agents of change" and they are already fantastic at solving problems on a strategic level, but I think we also need to create to understand the entire design process, says Helena Hansson

To fully understand the process, we must leave the school and learn to collaborate with others. This particular collaboration is among the best I have been a part of, I am learning an incredible amount - both as a teacher and a researcher, says Helena

Helena Hansson porträttbild
Helena Hansson, forskare och lärare på Embedded design
Photo: Maja Kristin Nylander

The student Lisa Kristiansson goes on to say that the design work throughout the whole process has been a collaboration and a group effort between the students in the class.

We have all been involved in every parts, but some focused more on the design work while others more on the UX part, i.e. the user experience of the kitchen. To really familiarize ourselves with this, we made role plays where we acted as having a wheelchair or being children to understand these people's needs and ability to use the kitchen, says Lisa

A public presentation at Röhsska
At the end of the month, the students will make a final presentation of the construction on site in the free port, followed by a public presentation at the Röhsska museum on March 23, where the students will show sketches, models and talk about their experiences within the project. In April, the kitchen will be used for the first time by the Center for Sea and Society in a course on the subject food from the sea. The kitchen will then be used by the public during the anniversary week in Frihamnen on June 2.

The big difference between this project and what we have done within the education earlier is that we now are involved all the way to the physical product and we get to see if our ideas hold up or need to be adapted. It feels really great that this will be a finished kitchen that will be used and appreciated by real people, says Lisa


Fact box: Prototype Gothenburg

Gothenburg's 400th anniversary consists of several initiatives, of which Prototyp Gothenburg is the part that focuses on sustainable urban development. Within the initiative, a number of prototypes will be displayed, as a way of showing how we need to find and test new solutions for the cities of the future. One of these prototypes is Omställningslabbet, which is being developed together with several architects, artists and students. Everyone contributes their part. Students from Embedded design, HDK-Valand have focused on an outdoor kitchen, to be used during workshops, constructions but also to explore future food from the sea. At a later stage in the spring, the MFA in Child Culture Design, HDK-Valand will also be involved in the development of the area around Prototyp Gothenburg in Frihamnen, then with a focus on the children's perspective and needs.

Here you can read more about Prototyp Gothenburg

Fact box: Embedded design
MFA in design, with specialization in Embedded Design is an advanced level programme given at HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg. The education encourages you to critically reflect on the role of design in various organizational contexts and to meet a growing demand for sustainable, innovative and questioning design. During the year the programme has also collaborated with Volvo, Gothenburg city and Lynk & co.
The application for Embedded design starting in the fall semester 2023 opens on March 15 - apply to the program by April 17.