Cookware from clay could be found in many cultures in the past. Some of them have kept these objects until today, while in our culture they have almost disappeared. We are fascinated by the simplicity of these objects and how intuitive and readable they are. They have accumulated data of functionality, meaning and intelligence over centuries. Nowadays we are often confronted with objects whose cultural and industrial origins we do not know and they do not reveal.
We aim to publish our findings and approach once returned to Berlin. This book should tell the story of the original pots as well as our interpretations, translations and impressions. We hope to discover many more things than the making itself through the process. We want to converge to the surrounding, the action and the people.

The book is meant to be an autonomous element which addresses interested readers from different spheres. We are everything but interested to make a book that is valuable only to our families and people who do similar research. Thus the concept is to have diverse content such as results of the research, chapters on tradition, culture, recipes, instructions and portraits. Similar to the journal of a discoverer some centuries ago, it will be a collection of curiosities that does not have the claim to be complete, but all the more sensible to a just and detailed representation of our encounters.


The images show the little no-budget fanzine that resulted from FIRE KTCHEN in Vienna, 2016. It collects recipes, pots and patterns for their reproduction as well as a little introduction on the project and the applied techniques.


FIRE KITCHEN was guest at constructlabs the Arch in Genk in June 2017.

The aim during this Residency stay was on the one hand to develop an easily repeatable workflow for producing simple personal objects, a cup, a plate and a bowl, for the Arch kitchen and ongoing workshops. You can find the manual here.
On the other hand, large cooking objects for the Arch Kitchen were developed and built, such as a Stove, Tajine, Comal, a natural refrigerator, several jugs and large bowls etc.


FIRE KITCHEN Vienna took place in cooperation with the Austrian Caritas group Kompa and invited refugees from different countries (Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran) and neighbours to participate in a 10 day action in an enchanted backyard garden in the center of Vienna: starting from a selected recipe a cooking pot and a table stove were designed and built from clay. Throughout the first days, several cooking pots, steamers, tajines, open baking pans and closed ovens, coffee and tea pots and jugs were created.

After drying, the vessels were burned in simple wood fire ovens made from metal bins: at a low temperature of 800∞ the pots become dense enough to be used for cooking though staying porous enough for resisting the extreme temperature difference while cooking on open fire and at the same time being able to absorbe water to be dispensed during gentle cooking or evaporate on the exterior for cooling. In a second reduction burning the vessels could be finished with a matte black surface through oxygen exclusion making them hydrophobic and thus better for cooking.

Most cultures used to cook in clay pots on open fire and many beautiful examples and knowledge, which accumulated over a long time can still be found in South America, North and South Africa, Asia, the Middle East etc today. As European citizens we are relatively distant from this culture. We are used to cook in pots and containers whose cultural and material origins we donít know. For visitors and participants, fire-kitchen wanted to make possible to experience the exemplary process from the raw material clay through manufacturing, processing and burning to the communal cooking and dinner feast.

As designers and initiators of the project fire-kitchen we prefer to have a role in which we can learn from each other. Regarding the topic of cooking, we are used to serve ourselves at other cultures without going in depth into any personal exchange. A booklet is giving explanations about basic knowledge of materials and processes, presenting a selection of traditional pots and recipes from all over the world and proposing patterns for the building of some simple objects.

The original idea for fire-kitchen came up on a trip to Brazil, asking Reni from Bahia to cook the traditional Moqueca de Peixe with us (delicious dish from fish, vegetables, coconut milk, palm oil, lime and coriander). He first refused cooking it and arrived a couple of days later with a large, round, black pot made from clay arranging and delicately cooking the fish in it.
The fascination and curiosity for cooking in clay was born.

The setting was made representing only the necessary working steps: pieces of textile are used first for rolling and working the clay and finally to cover the festive dinner table; the seasonal ingredients come from the nearby social garden Gin; the archaic fire is attracting neighbours and visitors from far into the dark abandoned yard for the communal, festive, exciting and particular evening.


The Fire-Kitchen Vienna took place in the framework of the Vienna Design Week 2016 Stadtarbeit Format.
It received the MehrWERT-Designpreis 2016 for social design of Erste Bank Austria.

Team: Johanna Dehio, Mascha Fehse, Valentina Karga, Liza Schluder, Sèbastien Tripod