When you see it for the first time you think is a scupltural, conceptual pyramid made of beautifully cotto-shaded smooth bricks. A tribute to rural construction, for brick lovers. More of the pathos is given when the core of the piramyd is lit with fire.
Only when people start removing one brick at a time you understand that each brick is hollow and it contains cooked food. Bricknic – a picnic with bricks – is a project by Optimismus, led by Leif Czakai, Timm Donke and Nathan Fordy, three Design Academy Eindhoven graduates, who wanted to bring together food, fire, community and ancestral construction.
“When we went to East Africa we saw how they made bricks for construction there,” the designers explain. “When the bricks are in shape and ready to be fired, they don’t end up into an external oven, but are stacked to form the oven itself. This huge structure is then burnt for several days, and then dismantled. Every brick is dependent on the other to hold the structure.”
“We found this very fascinating and translated it into a social cooking event. Everybody is necessary to have the food at the end.”
By now the project has had big resonance in housing companies in The Netherlands which give them as a present to new inhabitants, fostering participation and social moments within the community. On Bricknic’s website there is a map of brick holders, so to facilitate gathering among bricknickers. “If you get a brick you can put your location on the map, let’s say Milano, and if there’s lots of people with a brick they can easily gather.”
“By now the hardest part in the process is figuring out where to locate each kind of food,” they explain. “You should understand where to put the food that takes longer to cook and viceversa, as heat concentrates on the top. The funny thing is that no one is ever bothered by this, people like to get involved in the process of constructing the oven.”
Bricknic’s next step is to get bigger and go to festivals, welcoming at least 200 people around it. Optimismus showcased it’s work at Alcova in via Popoli Uniti 11-13, during Milan Design Week 2019.
Opening image: photo Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti
- Leif Czakai, Timm Donke, Nathan Fordy
- Milan Design Week 2019