[K. Pelikan] Baselj

is an artist and designer from the East Coast of the USA.

Interested in:
✷ landscapes
✷ ecology
✷ narratives
✷ hopeful futures

Working in:
graphic design

with a critical eye
and a curious mind.

Side project:
Pelikan Print Co.

Common Roots (2017)

A collaborative project made during MAD Summerschool in Sigulda, Latvia.

The 2017 Summerschool focused on Biomimicry as a place of departure. Working closely with local craftspeople, each group was responsibile for rethinking a different phase of a meal: foraging, harvesting, cooking, and eating.

My group created a dining table for new rituals of communal meals. 

Beet-dyed wood, ceramics, metal, local harvest

We all need food to survive. But the art of eating has been diluted,
and we have replaced cooking and eating in community with snacks on the go. Many of us are so disconnected from the ritual of sharing a meal that a long dinner is reserved for special occasions. Our group recognizes the need for reconnection: between people & people, people & nature, and people & food. Through our objects, we reconsider traditional utensils and offer a set of tools that allow you to slow down and savor every bite shared in company.

We decided to offer a solution that is not so far removed from the ceremony of sharing a meal. Perhaps these objects are the reason for gathering, like a watering hole where animals come back together after a long migration. We were inspired by the communal meals shared at the summerschool, as well as cultures that feed one another as a sign of respect. We studied natural organisms that communicate through close proximity: mushroom spores, lichen, coral reefs, and microscopic cells. The forms are familiar but not immediate — they require interaction and play.

To begin the meal, at least two people will lift the surface onto the metal frames. These frames can be propped upright for sitting in chairs or horizontally for sitting on the ground. Thus, the ritual begins as a team effort. Bowls of food are brought to the table and nested in their spaces, but there is room for rearranging throughout the meal. The bowls are rounded to activate the motion of sharing as they pass from laps to hands. Because the objects rely on curiosity and intuition, guests might instinctively reach into bowls with their hands or feed the person sitting next to them. This ceremony of tasting and touching will rekindle families: both those we come from and those we make.

in collaboration with: 

Moe Asari
Sebastian Sailer
Tamara Pesic
Jessie Eeles
Gundega Strauberga
Cora Schmelzer

tutored by:

Amanda Karsberg
Gabriel Kanulf

To understand design and craftsmanship to the bone, we must take action—do work, create things, experiment with space and materials. Design theory must be tested in real life. Only creative work can produce new values.

MAD brings together designers, artists, craftsmen and scientists–people who are unlikely to meet under different circumstances. Theories and hypotheses are tested in practice by creating new things and experiences. MAD embraces soft definitions of design and art, by creating useful and aesthetic objects during irresistible authentic work by treating materials, where rules and discipline of crafts evoke a challenge and creativity.

The name MAD for the International Design Summer School is derived from the keywords describing the concept of the school—Man and Design.