Kitchens are so important. They’re the heart of everything. – Kate Winslet

Conceptualized and created by the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI’ ) in Boston, Public Kitchen is an intervention aimed at social and food justice- an experiment in how more vibrant public infrastructures can improve the quality of our lives. “Public Kitchen,” was  the first commission in DS4SI’s series “The Public: A Work in Progress.” As public infrastructures – hospitals, water, schools, transportation, etc- are privatized, the Public Kitchen takes an opportunity to go in the reverse direction. It is an installation designed to help us realize that the ways in which public infrastructures can improve the quality of our lives are still a work in progress.  We still have room to imagine the futures we want to create! Doing this takes experimentation and creativity.To spark that, the Public Kitchen is a “productive fiction,” and as such it’s our experimentation with a new, more vibrant social infrastructure that:

  • Challenges the public’s own feelings that “public” means poor, broken down, poorly run, and “less than” private
  • Engages communities in claiming public space, the social and food justice
  • Makes a new case for public infrastructures through creating ones that don’t exist

The goal of the commission is to show how this kind of infrastructure might improve people’s private and public lives, as well as to make a case for public infrastructure in general. The way in which the commission points back to a point of possibility for public infrastructure and in real time is a delightful experience for its participants is part of the design challenge for this commission.

The Commission Delivery:

An artist / culinary team built out programs for an “outdoor open mobile kitchen”. Programming has included classes, competitions, recipe sharing, co-cooking culturally shared ingredients, wellness workshops, unconferences, art gallery all dependent on the assets of the community, the artists involved, and the organizations that collaborate to create a slate of events they co- create together. People from surrounding neighborhoods have come to cook, share recipes, talk food, and eat at Public Kitchen. It has been an installation check out the video from our indoor installation during Roxbury Open in Roxbury, New Haven, Montreal … 

Reclaiming public space. There’s a growing trend of initiatives that use creative means to reclaim disappearing public space, whether repurposing parking spaces or reclaiming closed business fronts like Project Storefronts. Public Kitchen engages residents in imagining new possibilities for public spaces in their neighborhoods. To see how reclaiming your space might look like in your community, look at our intervention at the Dudley Farmer’s Market where we made quinoa risotto with food from the corner store and produce from the farmer’s market. Reclaiming Space