The Market Lounge is a space at the market where people can rest and where they are stimulated to taste different cultures and meet new people. In addition, the Market Lounge provides opportunities for market merchants, restaurants and people from the neighborhood.
Every Saturday during the market, a different chef from a restaurant in the neighborhood is responsible for the food at the Market Lounge, together with two ‘cooks’ from the neighborhood. These local cooks are ordinary residents from the neighborhood who think they can cook something good, and have subscribed to join the team for one week via an interactive panel on the bar of the Lounge. They are cooking a different culture every week, and will use the ingredients from the market.
All the objects in the Market Lounge have round shapes, so people will never sit right in front of each other. This has proven to prevent uncomfortable moments. Furthermore everything is constructed in a way that when the Lounge is closed, only one vandalism-proof part is visible.
At last, the tables have an innovative system that makes waiters unnecessary. The guests themselves have to turn a lever to move a transportation band for the food. This ridiculous action evokes an informal atmosphere, as well as giving people an easy way to help each other.
During this group project, we started by investigating in what ways people in various places avoided contact with strangers, and in what situations they were willing to participate in interaction. We found out that in general, the threshold to initiate a conversation with a stranger was very high. The neighborhood Woensel-West in Eindhoven turned out to be the most interesting context for us, because of the big amount of different cultures and the lack of social contact between them. After conversations with the people there and distilling our first ideas, we decided on using food as a binding factor, also since this could connect with the market in Woensel very well.