Martina Huynh

Department: Man and Communication


Osteria – Restaurant
Via Crespi, 14

How would society look without our current economic system? At Martina Huynh's Basic Income Café, coffee drinkers can experience a playful foretaste of such a reality. “It works as a regular café where people meet and socialize over a cup of coffee,” she explains. “Even if they don’t talk about the concept of a basic income system, but about personal stuff, it’s still the system that provides for this moment, free of charge. The experience is still that of receiving something unconditionally.”

Huyn's presentation is both an interactive design installation and a social experience, in which the real design, that of facilitating communication between people and making the idea behind a basic income scenario tangible, is initially hidden behind the seductive form of the transparent, oversized Plexiglas Bialetti coffee maker. “It’s a complex installation, disguised and placed in a familiar context where people know how to behave but end up talking about big issues such as the future of work and society and the economy,” says Huyn.

The first cup of coffee is free. For more coffee, you need to grind your beans (“the work”), which makes the barista redundant and guarantees a great-tasting cup of joe. Afterwards, you clean your cup for the next person. “In a basic income future, you can’t just buy as much as you want with all the capital you have,” says Huyn. “If nobody works, nobody gets any more free coffee. In that sense, the coffee did not fall from the sky, but is the result of the previous work of people for other people.”

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photograph(s): Nicole Marnati
Venu Photograph(s): Nicole Marinati