Recup’Kitchen is a temporal architectural intervention that is created by engaged citizens to manifest their aspired, community-based values in the public space of Brussels. Although the kitchen is far from being finished, Recup’Kitchen is functioning. It is an open and multi-layered design concept. It has been collectively imagined, explored, designed, questioned, rethought, communicated, appropriated, funded, constructed, activated, loved, etcetera. Its self-organized participatory design process is on-going.
Since spring 2015, when the initial idea for a kitchen at Josaphat arose, the design process has been through a continuative explorative journey.
More than a year ago three enthusiasts meet each other on the Josaphat site that is lying bare as the wasteland had recently been cleared. Wild imaginations and naïve aspirations are expressed in a spontaneous brainstorm.
// A take off for a collective voyage of discovery.
The basic design concept (a kitchen in a shipping container) gets further developed and articulated. It goes through various appropriations by other participants. The focus changes, its form becomes rearranged, …
// Wandering. To continue the road without a map. To linger. To meet strangers and go on together.
The Creativity Call for Brussels (May 2015) ‘Urban Food 2025’ triggered the first written conception of Recup’Kitchen. Short and long-term ambitions get articulated.
// Like a compass, it offers a sense of direction. To know what to head for, yet without guide.
The idea for a sustainable kitchen project gets appreciated. However, it appears to be tricky to actual realize the project. For a couple of months it gets abandoned. Once in while participants bring it up again and share their ideas.
// Take up a slow pace. To recuperate. To gaze and let go for a while as to find renewed energy.
November that year, a rearranged group of actors decided to take the leap and start a crowdfunding campaign. The collective goes to an intense process of conceptualization and communication of the idea.
// To climb a mountain. Intense collaboration. Perseverance. Fear. Shouting. Active involvement.
February 2016, over 150 people help to fund Recup’Kitchen. The collective dream can be realized.
// To reach the top. Gratitude. Empowerment. United as a group. To oversee the road to come.
The citizen collective starts to organize and plan how to continue. The process becomes more structured, new volunteers join, while others drop off. In April, the Kitchen opens with a big celebration to thank all those that contributed one way or another. The administrative organization shows to be more complicated.
// Not even halfway. Fueled up. Fatigue. To hit boundaries. To firmly go on.
Today the Recup’Kitchen team organizes minimum two events per month, with several additional events and many more request.
// The moments in-between to cherish. To see clear again. To find / create your own world.
// You would not have even been able to imagine it, if you wouldn’t have come from so far.
The Recup’Kitchen team: http://www.recupkitchen.be/nos-chefkoks/
and its on-line community: https://www.facebook.com/recupkitchen
Part of the doctoral research of Hanne Van Reusel (KU Leuven) and Incubators of Public Spaces, a JPI Urban Europe research project. Funded through Innoviris.