Project 4: A Seat at the Table

This design piece, titled A Seat at the Table, is a picnic table designed to facilitate community interactions as a reflection of the beautiful community interactions we had in Costa Rica. Sharing stories, knowledge, and food with the people of El Cocal and my classmates became a big part of what I loved the most about being in Costa Rica.

My approach to the design of A Seat at the Table was to create seating that is as simplistic as possible, a direct reflection of the design styles in El Cocal. The intricate, hand-painted patterns found in the piece reference a painting style found in Costa Rica, La Caretta Tipica, which has a rich history in the decoration of prized possessions, specifically Ox Carts in the turn of the 20th century. La Caretta Tipica is the perfect expression of the colour, nature, and beauty found in Costa Rica and is also a perfect homage to the experiences that shaped this piece. Finally, in lieu of our reason for being in Costa Rica, to assist the community of El Cocal in developing a waste management system, all of the wood and nails used in the making of this piece are entirely reused materials.

The people of El Cocal reminded me that happiness is not a reflection of the things you own, the money you have, or the amount of success others perceive you to have – we can find happiness in each other and in an appreciation of what you are already so lucky to have. This piece is a reflection of this incredible learning experience and what I valued most from our trip; community.

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