Brightmoor Bento Brainstorm!


For our first workshop, we divided our participants into 3 groups, each with a Brightmoor Makers facilitator to ask one another several questions:


1. What is your earliest memory ?

2. Describe Brightmoor to our visitors from U-M.

3. Describe a place in your community that is special to you–it can be a family place, a neighborhood place, a church. But tell each other what it is and why it is special to you.



The responses were a range of places to eat and shop. The big favorites? Rouge Park and the Detroit Zoo.




Following the identification of these special community places, we asked everyone to think of ways that they could make those places even better

We talked, we drew, everyone shared their ideas in groups. Here are some of the drawings:

After a short break (with Cottage Inn pizza!) our guest, Mike Haag from Herman Miller told our group about the city of Ishinomaki, Japan, and some of the events that followed the 3/11/11 Tsunami. Mike described the destruction of much of the housing, the businesses and the conditions people lived within. When Herman Miller employees and volunteers arrived in Ishinomaki, one of their observations was that the temporary housing that had been provided was set on the wet ground on blocks. The effect of this was that in order for the residents to hang their clothes to dry they had to pile things on top of each other to get to the roof. This was a challenge for a relatively short population already suffering from fatigue and cold, and social isolation.

One of the projects jointly developed by Herman Miller and the nascent DIY furniture enterprise that grew into Ishinomaki Laboratory was a bench that served both as a stepping stool and a unit of social cohesion where people could gather outside their houses. Mike described other simple yet elegant design solutions that were designed and built and still in production, including a tool box, a trestle leg and a shelf.

We then all looked at the beautiful Bento DIY kit–and started to ask our participants how they might envision such a kit impacting Brightmoor. The Bento DIY Kit from Ishinomaki is composed of relatively simple geometric shapes cut from pine, sanded and waxed, several with a wood burned insignia. The kit and its well designed instructions enable most anyone of all ages and abilities to build several projects using the enclosed components and simple hand tools.



We had a terrific session of brainstorming , sketching ideas and hearing from everyone in the group before trying to find some common areas of interest and overlap.



Then, we asked one person from each group to present to the whole workshop.



Pro Chair. Transform your protest sign into a chair.







Bender. Transforms from a bench into a ladder.




Treehouse + Birdhouse. This is an experience with an object. The first stage is to build a habitable tree house in either the Detroit Zoo or Rouge Park so you can spend time with birds (also has a component where you can zipline trhough the trees, and possibly swim with dolphins (if at the Zoo.). Then, the kit would contain the parts for building a birdhouse with notes about local birds so you could replicate the experience at home.

After the workshop, we compiled everyones’ ideas into a plan to build Brightmoor Bento kits that can be used to develop a Maker Playground in Brightmoor. Here are some of our early sketches…

Now, it’s off to Ishinomaki to build our Brightmoor Bento prototype! Stay tuned!