BITE: a food-culture-technology revolution (Scott Francisco + Nick Senske)

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The Open Source Café: ‘BITE‘, inspired by the cutting edge design/development movement in software and technology, engages its patrons in developing an evolving menu of simple and nutritious food from around the world.

Against a background of eclectic music and media, a weekly menu is served over the counter. This menu is presided over by a ‘chef ’ who has culled and tested recipes that have been submitted on the café’s internal website. Students vie for their submissions to make the ‘menu list’ based on several key principles: Nutrition, Ease of Preparation, Tastiness, and Affordability. Once selected, tested and refined by the chef, menu items are offered in a state of consumer competition. A menu board continuously records the number of purchases and ranks them. Once per week, the lowest scoring item is dropped from the list to make way for a new item. Favorites remain until they lose support and drop off the list.

BITE’s cutting edge infrastructure facilitates realtime adaptation, and the opportunity for advanced food culture research.

Project by Scott Francisco + Nick Senske

see project post here: http://byoprojects.com/post/18627371186/bite-cafe-open-source-dining

Published in: Design, Education, Technology
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BITE: a food-culture-technology revolution (Scott Francisco + Nick Senske)

  1. 1. BITEfoodculturetechnologyrevolutionscott francisco/nick senske ©2004 all rights reserved
  2. 2. B I T E: a food-culture-technology revolution B I T E: a food-culture-technology revolution } existing Student CenterIn the world of technology and research, MIT’s reputation for excellence precedes itself.But does this excellence extend to student life?Approach any graduate student, the engine of MIT’s cutting edge research, and they arelikely to voice the same frustrated question: “Why should a university with the globalreputation of MIT, situated in the heart of one of America’s most cosmopolitan cities, belacking in urban identity and culture?”“…to be honest, it’s pretty bad. Around MIT there’s “Some days, I just don’t come to school... becausebasically only burgers and Pizza. There are a few there’s nothing good to eat on campus..more exotic restaurants up the street, but you can’t .. I can’t face it everyday”eat there every day. We need something good and traditional street cafesimple, …a place that feels real, to sit, eat decent -Lydia Kallipoliti, graduate student from Greecefood and watch the world go by...”-Goncalos Soares, Graduate Student from Portugal...Where is a person supposed to eat?Ironically, these same MIT researchers are discovering in their laboratories and think-tanks that real ‘places’––places that cultivate dialogue and interaction––are founda-tional to creative work. Not to mention that top students and faculty, coming from citiesaround the world, are expecting more from an institution that they will soon call home.The consensus is that change is needed––and fast. new café transforms Student Center entranceWhat if MIT developed a café that really worked?... The success of the Open Source Café is based on several key concepts: The basic idea is to engage the student population in thinking...a place that integrated delicious healthy food, a diverse and edgy atmosphere, an awareness of world cultures, all with a twist that about food in a creative way, tapping cultural roots for solutions towould make the experience unique to MIT. If this could happen anywhere, why not here, at a place the world looks to for new ideas? healthy eating in America. The call for participation, anticipation, lighthearted politicking, along with constant variety will ensure a -Fusion of the city and the InstituteGiven MIT’s current landscape, new ideas are essential. steady flow of customers who have a personal stake in the system. Students can become stars of the menu, enlisting a truly unique -Inspires constant participation criteria for popularity and innovation––grandma’s recipe for Proposal: stuffed tomatoes. -Structured for adaptation to changing The Open Source Café is a threshold between the Institute and the The Open Source Café: ‘BITE‘, inspired by the cutting edge design/development movement in software vibrant city; a place where a student from Beijing, or Bogotá, needs and technology, engages its patrons in developing an evolving menu of simple and nutritious food from Toledo, Toronto or Thessalonica could sit with peers, professors or around the world. parents sharing life stories and discoveries, while eating something -Capitalizes on cutting edge technology that nourishes and inspires discussion; a place where a recruiter Against a background of eclectic music and media, a weekly menu is served over the counter. This menu could meet with a prospective researcher, surrounded by a developed at the Institute is presided over by a ‘chef’ who has culled and tested recipes that have been submitted on the café’s subculture that echoes the creativity of the laboratories and internal website. Students vie for their submissions to make the ‘menu list’ based on several key prin- studios––a place where encounters across all social groups would -Offers a constant variety of tantalizing ciples: Nutrition, Ease of Preparation, Tastiness, and Affordability. Once selected, tested and refined by happen every day. the chef, menu items are offered in a state of consumer competition. A menu board continuously records food from cultures around the world the number of purchases and ranks them. Once per week, the lowest scoring item is dropped from the list to make way for a new item. Favorites remain until they lose support and drop off the list. -Becomes the place to be, on campus, and lower Cambridge BITE’s cutting edge infrastructure facilitates realtime adaptation, and the opportunity for advanced food culture research.
  3. 3. B I T E: a food-culture-technology revolution STUDENT CENTER STORAGE 50 SEAT DINING ROOM KITCHEN SLIDING DOORS STAIR TO MEZZANINE PATIO C A F E P L A N ©2004 all rights reserved
  4. 4. B I T E: a food-culture-technology revolutionObjectives :• Healthy, diverse and affordable food, tailored to student needs.• Atmosphere and location creates focal point, enhancing culture and community.• ‘Process’ rather than product keeps people involved and the concept fresh• Unique concept creates public awareness and dialogue• Educational aspect breaks pattern of American fast food culture and provides leadership forthe way we eat and socialize.• Café becomes a laboratory for cutting-edge food culture research.Logistics:Managing this enterprise will be a challenge worthy of the Institute. Infrastructure, both physical and strategic will be rigorouslydesigned for success. For example: In order for food versatility and affordability to be possible from a small venue, certain menuitems could be outsourced to existing MIT kitchens not currently working to capacity. With the Chef at the helm to maintain qualityand precision, efficiency will become part of the basic planning strategy.Site:Currently there is one practical site available: At the junction of both student and city traffic flow––in the prominent corner of theStudent Center facing Mass Ave. and the cross-walk to Building 7. With a moderate refit this existing 1600 sq ft space could betransformed into a venue with seating for 40 and an efficient diner-style kitchen.(see floor plan)Infrastructure:The Open Source Café is an ‘infrastructure-rich’ network that is designed to be “hacked” By setting up systems that call for input .with the reward of public visibility, students are encouraged to get involved. Food, lighting, music and media display each have acontrolled interactive component facilitated by infrastructural design.Challenge:It is time for MIT to tap the power of its unparalleled resources of people, infrastructure and history. Everyopportunity for creating public places of interaction, exchange and identity must be seized. Food is one of themost powerful catalysts for these activities. It is essential, engaging and representative. In our world of increas-ing digitization and specialization, food is one of the few remaining shared events with the power to bringpeople together in space and time––into places of connection, collaboration and identity formation.America and the rest of the world are waiting for good examples.Will MIT respond? ©2004 all rights reserved
  5. 5. BITEScott Francisco and Nick SenskeScott Francisco, SMArchS MIT, BArch Toronto,is a practicing designer and Graduate student in MITsDepartment of Architecture and Planning. He hasdesigned, built and managed numerous residential,commercial, institutional and landscape projects in Canadaand the US, and has taught design studio and theory at theUniversity of Kentucky College of Architecture. He is currentlyresearching the "architectural nature of culture"––how cultureoperates as an infrastructure, and how we operate on it.Nick Senske, SMArchS MIT, BArch Iowa State,is a digital design consultant and Graduate student in MITsDepartment of Architecture and Planning. He has assisted indesigning and visualizing numerous projects in the eastern US.He is currently researching the introduction of design computa-tion in professional architecture programs at the undergraduatelevel.©2004 all rights reserved

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