Seeking to explore power as crucial factor in the design of the built environment, we will look at energy systems and related objects, from sites of generation to spaces of consumption, from distribution networks to control rooms.

Tutors: Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer
Director of Studies: Salomon Frausto

Contributors: Santiago Ardila, Juan Benavides, Daniella Camarena, Stef Dingen, Marco Fusco, Jack Garay Arauzo, Theodora Gelali, Shaiwanti Gupta, Hao Hsu, Marianthi Papangelopoulou, Felipe Quintero, Gent Shehu, Siyuan Wang

From Bento to Japan
Collage by Sheng-Hao Hsu

Idealization of a system, Food, Distribution, Consumption, National, Object, Nuclear Disaster, Culture, Illustration

Bento is a traditional meal box in Japan. Theough examining bento in detail, these delicious dishes demonstrate the food system in Japan, which could be briefly separated into four phases: source of foods, distribution, manufacturing, and consumption.

I. Source of food: Depending on the sources, foods come from different producing areas. After the nuclear disaster in 2011, people started to think about the necessity of urban self-sufficiency and how to grow food indoors became another topic and development focus in Japan. After harvesting, farmers, and fishermen will transport goods to the next phase 1.

II. Distribution: In Tokyo, 11 wholesale markets are responsible for food distribution. For example, Toyosu shiji Market trades seafood from Japan to the whole world; Shokuniku Market deals with meat in Tokyo. All markets have their own category of food and assigned areas. They are strictly supervised by the government to maintain foods’ quality and fair trade, even buyers and retailers who want to participate in auction need to be authorized 2.

III. In process: After auction, retailers deliver goods to stores or factories. From the documentary film «Tsukiji Wonderland», there is an interesting chemistry within intermediate wholesalers and retailers who work as a group, aiming to bring delicious food on tables. This connection leads to the culture of Tsukiji Market, and forms the spirit of the place 3.

IV. Consumption: Through the behavior of consumption, it could be a lens to view social phenomena in Japan. Since the Japanese are used to eating outside, a high percentage of foods are made with an extra manufacturing process in factories and transported to places like convenient stores to provide a convenient way to people for eating.

1. National Geographic. “Q&A: Inside the World’s largest Indoor Farm“, last modified July 19, 2014,
2. Toyosu Market Guide. “Workers at the Market”, last modified unknow, 3. Bilibili. “Tsukiji Wonderland”, published May 31, 2016,

See Photos: Tokyo
Listen audio: 2, 3, 12