john lum architecture sets dining womb ablaze at burning man
john lum architecture sets dining womb ablaze at burning man john lum architecture sets dining womb ablaze at burning man
sep 24, 2014

john lum architecture sets dining womb ablaze at burning man

john lum architecture sets dining womb ablaze at burning man
all images courtesy of john lum architecture




john lum, a san francisco-based architect and owner of john lum architecture, packed up a 20-foot long dining table, named the ‘dining womb’, and hauled it to the black rock desert in nevada to set on fire. but not before an activist clown performance and formal 20-person, communal dinner prepared by a chef in true burning man fashion.

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
The dining womb provided its last sheltered dinner at 4:30 in the morning on thursday as a total surprise to passersby




originally designed to shield its occupants from the cacophony of the outside world – much like a womb – the sensuous curves of the structure’s integrated bench and table envelop the user in a zen-like space, perfect for an intimate dinner conversation and celebration. ‘this piece is the synthesis of art and architecture and represents a specific time in my career and the firm’s development,’ says lum. ‘early in your career you don’t have the opportunity, resources, and freedom to do a project like this that isn’t client-driven. people have asked me why not keep it, but I have been thinking a lot about what this represents. we’re actually burning something very significant and symbolic of a specific time in my career and life. it represents moving forward in the possibilities and what’s next. we could hold onto it or we could embrace new opportunities and possibilities.’

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
the piece represents a specific time in john lum’s career and his firm’s development




made from 1,100 pieces of 100% recyclable and reusable cardboard, the dining womb was conceived as a shelter for adventurous individuals attending the 2010 DIFFA (design industry foundation fighting aids) fundraiser. the constituent pieces, held together with 27 gallons of white glue, precisely fit to create a lyrical, ribbed structure. the heavy-duty fins have been set into plywood combs to evoke a complex moiré pattern that allows passersby to catch glimpses of diners within, playfully providing privacy and intrigue to both viewers and the participants. in essence, the environment becomes a horizontal zoetrope where an illusion of motion is presented on the exterior.

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
view of the recyclable cardboard exterior




not surprisingly, the piece gave birth to a line of furniture called ‘offspring’. the first of its children, ‘the blob’, appeals to the grunge, hipster visual of the mission with a little bit of anime creeping in. the second chair, the ‘chaise lounge,’ suits the test of the refined, contemporary aesthete while, the cardboard tempers any high-brow pretentiousness with a down-to-earth, eco-friendly material. it will wear with use, creating a unique mapping of the user, and can be recycled when it reaches its lifespan.

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
lighting the structure on fire

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
the flames from afar 

john lum architecture dining womb burning man nevada
‘the burning of the ‘dining womb’ is symbolic of our choices in life. we can hold onto the past or embrace new opportunities and possibilities.’ –john lum



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here. 

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