Grains for Brains
Delving into the ‘world of grains’, team Robida.plus, a collective based in the remote Alpine village of Topolò and mentored by designer and food futurist Carolien Niebling, is drawing on Slovenia’s rich cultural, agricultural and culinary heritage to redesign traditional Slovenian use of buckwheat. Referencing an old pratike, Slovene farmers’ almanac, Robida developed a new format of recipe book where content is organised through time, following the lifecycle of the plant.
Juna Horstmans (cover)
Infographic printed with buckwheat ink on textile, Robida, cotton textile
Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO
How can we re-establish a connection with the process of transforming plants into human food? How can we consider a specific food not only for its health benefits but also for its effects on the surrounding bioregion? How can seasonal growing cycles be expressed in a publication?
As a response to critical conditions – climate change, the global food industry, overconsumption of meat, and a crisis in grain supplies because of the war in Ukraine – Robida is trying to find the tools to raise awareness of the food cycle, from landscape to plate.Simultaneously, the group is trying to stimulate local production and consumption in two different contexts: at Ljubljana’s Krater and at their home in Topolò. The focus is on buckwheat (Slovene: ajda), a pseudograin with a key role in Slovenian cuisine and culture.
Robida gathers and shares knowledge that evokes the Slovenian Alps and the region’s resources through the embodied practices of cooking, eating, smelling, making and storytelling related to the whole cycle of buckwheat’s life. Buckwheat can be seen as a super vernacular plant, not only as a rediscovered traditional food, but as a crop capable of facing contemporary environmental issues. It can survive in difficult conditions and poor soils as well as have a positive effect on human health and the environment.
Publikaction Ajda Pratika: Buckwheat from Landscape to Table
Robida with Juno Hortsmans, Published by Association Robida, Knotweed paper Notweed (Trajna), paper, 1000 free copies. Read the publication on Issuu ↗
Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO; Robida
Podcast series – Buckwheat stories and Dindin
Robida and guests (Giulia Soldati, Sophia Dorfsman, Dora Ciccone, Vida Rucli, Francesca Lucchitta, Elena Braida, Max van der Wal), Audio podcast, 04:00 h.
Moodboard from the research
Workshops Soba Noodles with Kurataro Takeishi and Two-day workshop with wild plants, from foraging to preparing them with Vid Skrbinšek
Team Robida based in the remote Alpine village Topolò.
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Garnitura explores new ways to communicate the architectural legacy of the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik to new audiences by drawing on the architect’s profoundly human vision for the city of Ljubljana.
Water – Designing a Biovernacular
Pjorkkala is addressing the problem of pollution in natural water sources in Slovenia by creating prototypes for local, nature-based solutions.
Design collective Krater is developing ongoing research into rammed earth architecture to create a teahouse that is situated on the crater-like construction site in the heart of Ljubljana occupied by Krater.
Regenerative Cultural Production
Futuring utilises the biennial to interrogate its future; to observe, source, and examine the existing sustainable practices in cultural production. The outcome will be an open-source toolkit to enable cultural institutions and designers to reduce their work’s environmental impact.