Digital Pressroom


Rochester Institute of Technology

Units of Memory: Foodease

ICFF 2019 | Booth 2843

Press Kit

Units of Memory: Foodease

The Premise

Cooking creates the memories of our family traditions and social experiences. At its best, cooking is inclusive, participatory and highly functional. 

The Product

The Mobile KItchen is a bespoke collection of modular units that push the boundary of the cooking experience and traditional work triangle. The prototype modules highlight work zones for cooking, cleaning, and preparation demonstrating universality and flexibility for improved user experience. MO:KI is an “investment collection” that can be taken with the owner, like furniture, from home to home.

The free-standing, multifunctional MO:KI system is interchangeable and designed to include “point of use” appliances to maximize efficiency. The plug and play approach, a grid with custom pegs, provides endless options for reconfiguring hard and soft storage solutions with varied height work surfaces. Set on casters, the units mobilize to fluidly reset the cooking environment.

The concept is minimalist in nature and affords the user flexibility in organizing an environment responsive to the tactile needs of the chef, a series of preparation tasks or desired entertainment venue.

The Process

 Design origination for the collection began with Mary Golden’s interest in devising innovative, provocative cooking experiences. As a certified interior designer, Mary recognized, that for some users, the limitations of the typical kitchen work triangle and default cabinetry placement reduced enjoyment and functionality. Clients, especially those with mobility concerns who sought a more responsive cooking environment, were often limited to expensive custom or specialty production cabinetry that did not always result in a positive return on investment. Clients were seeking something more flexible and suited to their personal requirements and physical needs.

Mary brought the discussion of universality and aging in place for the cooking experience into her interior design studios at Rochester Institute of Technology. Evidence-based design research and experiential activities provided tactile insight into the social engagement and nuances of preparing a meal. Together with Professor Golden, a select team of interior design students cultivated the fundamental design language for a bespoke collection that recognized the emotive importance of user experience.

Mary and her interior students teamed up with industrial design students, experts in product design, and RIT instructional faculty Will Tracey to further the premise. Funded in part by the Waldron-Rise Foundation, working prototypes were created in Will’s Fabrication Techniques course with mentorship by Mary. Students and faculty collaborated in the design and fabrication process to refine the concept into a detailed, modular system. Will’s expertise in crafting fine furniture and keen understanding of manufacturing technology guided the process through working mock-ups to production-ready prototypes. Using Autodesk Fusion, the team prepared custom drawings that enabled project partner Nexis3 to produce high quality prototypes on its manufacturing floor.

Following the curated 2019 ICFF installation, the prototype modular units will return to RIT’s Effective Access Technology Research and Development Lab for experiential study, data collection and advancement in anticipation of future production. The RIT ICFF 2019


Units of Memory: Foodease

A play on the popular term “foodies,” our installation engages visitors in a fun, functional approach to the kitchen environment that enables food to be prepped with ease. The installation, reset over the course of the four-day show, illustrates the flexibility and modularity of the prototype system.

Goals of the Installation

1.     Showcase the social nature of the kitchen

2.     Demonstrate the transformative nature of the collection as a functional yet entertaining experience

3.     Create conversation that expands design thinking for the kitchen environment 


The Faculty

Mary Golden  M.Arch., NCIDQ
Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Program Director RIT Interior Design

Biography Brief

Mary Golden, RIT Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director of Interior Design, pursues research in public interest design and sustainable, interior architectural environments that serve all people through innovative material explorations and universal design strategies. Mary holds an M.Arch. from the University at Buffalo with more than 15 years of experience in practice and higher education.

Rochester Institute of Technology
73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Booth Hall 4632
Rochester, NY 14623 USA
M: 585.315.7080

Will Tracey
Instructor | RIT College of Art and Design Operations Manager

Biography Brief

Will Tracey is an Instructor and Operations Manager for RIT’s College of Art and Design. He has been making furniture for nearly 20 years, building bespoke, one-of-a kind work ranging from high-end commissions to sculptural pieces influenced by his New England roots and sense of history. Will holds a BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Rochester Institute of Technology
73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Booth Hall 3591
Rochester, NY 14623 USA
P: 585.490.2908

The Team

The project team is a blend of interior and industrial design students ranging from sophomore to senior levels. Each student brought their unique lens and set of design skills to the process, creating a complimentary and diversely collaborative team.

James Antonelli - Industrial Design

William Avis - Industrial Design

Lea Balcerzak - Industrial Design

Emma Canny -  Interior Design

Robbie Fliegel - Industrial Design

Logan Fugle - Interior Design

Hannah Giancola - Industrial Design

Kayla Llanos - Industrial Design

Caroline Pedrotti - Interior Design

Thomas Richter - Interior Design

Raquel Rojas - Interior Design

The Sponsors

We are incredibly grateful to our professional network of project sponsors for their donations, which enabled prototyping of the MO:KI collection, support for travel to New York City, booth expenses and participation in ICFF 2019. 


Herman Miller

Mastro Graphics



Support from RIT was provided by the College of Art and Design, the School of Design and the Student Government.


The Consultants

We thank our Project Consultants for their expertise and feedback during our exploratory process. We look forward to continuing this project back at RIT with the Effective Access Technology Research and Development Lab.

BACE Build

Effective Access Technology Research and Development @ RIT


RIT’s comprehensive interior design major synthesizes design history, building systems, space planning, and design process with a consciousness for global affairs so that students may contribute to the profession with a deep-rooted understanding of society, culture, and the environment.


At RIT, we believe that industrial design education lies at the nexus of theory, process and practice. Industrial design is a human-centered discipline, which requires an understanding of the complex relationships between culture and commerce.


RIT’s School of Design is ranked among the best, with Business Week naming it one of the top 10 design schools in the country. Effective design combined with creativity and professionalism are the school’s tenets. Using both technological and theoretical approaches to find solutions to design problems, students work with award-winning faculty who are creatives, critical thinkers, and innovative problem-solvers.

The College of Art and Design is RIT’s creative hub where art, design, and technology intersect. From centuries-old and contemporary methods of producing fine art to the latest in digital media, we have a wide selection of majors in disciplines related to visual communication, imaging, and science. Our world-renowned Vignelli Center for Design Studies serves as an invaluable resource for understanding the process and product of design by the world’s most acclaimed designers.


Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

The university is internationally recognized and ranked for academic leadership 

in business, computing, engineering, imaging science, liberal arts, sustainability, and fine and applied arts. RIT also offers unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. Global partnerships include campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo. 

RIT Press Contacts

Rich Kiley

Senior Communication Specialist

Marketing and Communications

Rochester Institute of Technology

22 Lomb Memorial Drive, Brown Hall 1187

Rochester, NY 14623 USA


W: 585.475.5697

M: 585.880.7227

Kelly Sorensen

Marketing Communications Director

College of Art and Design Dean's Office

Rochester Institute of Technology

73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Booth Hall 4345

Rochester, NY 14623 USA


W: 585.475.2968

Aaron Garland

Web Content Manager

College of Art and Design Dean's Office

 Rochester Institute of Technology

73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Booth Hall 4347

Rochester NY 14623 USA


W: 585.475.7958

Elizabeth Lamark 

Visual Resource Producer

University Web Services – Photo

 Rochester Institute of Technology

73 Lomb Memorial Drive

Wallace Library A405

Rochester, NY 14623 USA


W: 585.475. 6696

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