Convivial Tools from Cranbrook Students

This year, Cranbrook Academy of Art students of all disciplines were given the brief to develop “convivial tools”: objects that encourage others to live more creative, autonomous, and socially and environmentally constructive lives. The resulting work, which is highly conceptual, suggested to the Academy’s architect-in-residence, Peter Lynch, that his students were hungry for “community and kindness, instead of bread and water.”

For example, Jason Cornelius, who studies 3-D Design, created “Utility Bread,” a cookbook filled with recipes to create bread in the form of a portable cushion, bricks, mosaic tiles, dishware, packaging, planting pots, and even a pendant lamp. Taking a slightly different tact, Kate Ludwig—who also studies 3-D Design—designed an anorak with a large “marsupial” shopping pouch. She sees it as a more environmentally sound solution to our culture’s incessant use and discarding of plastic bags.

Architect Ginger DM Krieg’s submission is a small bench called NaCaCo, which is shorthand for its elemental make-up: neutralized sodium chloride (NaCl), calcium carbonate (CaCo), and starch cellulose. As it is used and left in the elements, it will slowly erode and disappear, returning to the earth.

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