Vinalhaven, ME — June 23–29, 2013


What are the “stations” of our work, interactions, and play? When our networks are not only local but also regional, global, and frequently “virtual,” where is activity situated? Do we yearn for both fixity of place and transitory freedom? What are the tensions, if any, between these extremes? The more that mobility is privileged, does place matter less? How might stations—their locations, design, histories, and potential—benefit and/or hamper relationships and professional practices?

DesignInquiry considers the “place” of life and work—the stops, or nodes, perhaps, within living networks that are sometimes fixed, but that are also, more and more, variable. We are served by work stations, train stations, radio stations, gas stations, and server stations. We occupy these places somewhere between the extremes of permanence and impermanence, between rootedness and nomadism.

Work life, to say nothing of social life, is increasingly portable, interdisciplinary, linked, and multi-faceted. How is our sense of place shifting from the office or studio or home to the stations in between? How is this state of “multi-settlement” refiguring our alliance to, for instance, the studio—that long-established hub of creativity in design—or the place of business, or the place of social connection?

Where is production situated today, and where might it reside in the future? Are there places of work and production that we still regard as sacred, or at least exclusively reserved for certain purposes?  Nodes where things gather, and through which energies flow? What part of an actual place is ceremonial, over and above functional? Do these parts constitute a building or a gathering? Are they fixed or transient? Are stations places of production or places where one pauses amidst production? What effect do these places have on advancing and realizing ideas?