Design Onigiri

Exploring Creativity Through Culinary Design

Workshop Planning
Workshop Facilitation
1 month
(Nov 2023 - Dec 2023)
Special Thanks
Bruce Hanington


“A designer cannot claim to have truly designed something until they also know how it will be made.”
- Terence Conran

Inspired by Terence Conran's insight that true design extends to understanding how things are made, this project, "Design Origini," was centered around the enriching experience of creating from scratch. Key benefits of this approach include:

• Gaining a deeper understanding of how things work
• Developing solid design rationales
• Learning about the materials used
• Customizing design details for a unique touch
• Embracing trial and error as a learning process
• Generating innovative ideas through the act of making

The philosophy of hands-on experience in design led me to choose cooking as a metaphor, with its blend of utility and aesthetics, and its emphasis on practice and experimentation.

What was done

The "Design Origini: The Onigiri Workshop" involved guiding the MA of Design cohort at Carnegie Mellon University in the art of making Onigiri (Japanese rice balls). This hands-on session was not just about culinary skills but also about imparting design principles in a tangible and engaging way. Students were encouraged to apply principles of form, material understanding, and creativity in their culinary creations, making each Onigiri a unique representation of their interpretation of design concepts.


Conducting this workshop provided me with significant insights into the nuances of planning and facilitating an educational and creative session. It reinforced the value of experiential learning in conveying complex design principles and offered a new perspective on integrating design with other disciplines like culinary arts for an effective and engaging teaching approach.


Incorporating Feedback and Collaboration

In retrospect, adding a segment for participants to share and receive feedback on their creations would have enriched the workshop experience. This addition would promote a culture of collaboration and peer learning, which is vital in the design field.

Exploring Diverse Culinary Challenges

For future workshops, exploring other simple yet creative culinary projects, like preparing acai bowls, could provide variety while maintaining the focus on crafting from scratch within the given time constraints.