Facilitator for design and dispersion?

This post is principally to share notes about the unMonastery design meeting I had on Friday 13rd September with Antonio and Rita.


During the next week, students of the course “parametric architecture” will be working on unMonastery to design furnitures, installations and architectural elements with parametric tools (more info in French on my blog). For that, It would be very helpful to have 3d of the building. @antonioelettrico told me that a sketch-up model exists (probably made by someone called Mike?).

Ben, could you help with this?

It would be great if I can have any additional drawings (I only have plans) by this Friday (20th September) as the workshops starts next week.


In this weeks I’ve been talking and blogging a lot about Edgeryders and unMomnastery and I involved a lot of people in the process, such as @urbanohumano, @skotperez, my students and many others at superbelleville coworking and Mutinerie . Some of them are consequently coming to LOTE and they ask me a lot of questions about the whole project, such as :

Will our trip be really payed by the organization? And if yes…why?

I don’t know the answers. I know that they were payed last year.

Rita suggested me to ask @noemi : Noemi, can you help me with this?


We have been talking about possible layouts for the conference room and I highlighted the need to have a more organic distribution of the sits instead of having a typical frontal classroom like indicated in the images here. I understand this like a drawing Antonio made to calculate the number of people we can have in the rooms instead of a real design intention. Antonio and Rita confirmed me this point.

Perhaps we should have both models : some rooms with a conference-like layout and others with a more circular geometry of sits encouraging active work and collaboration (like in the photo I’m attaching below of the coworking space The SYNC). We mentioned the possibility to design some prototypes for sits in collaboration with local institutions. Rita mentioned a few of them and she will contact them.


I self-designated myself ad a “Facilitator for design and dispersion”. I understand my role as it follows (I’m writing this points as I would like to receive your comments if you don’t agree with something).

  • My responsibility is to have an overall view over all the design discussions (about rooms configurations, furniture, architecture) and be able to translate this sprawled conversations into a decision when it is needed.
  • If I am asked to make a decision, I have to explain my decision to the community.
  • I will work as a consultant in the design process, using the empty design approach I’ve previously describe here.
  • I also have to facilitate dispersion, in order to maintain the process and the design flexible enough to have the right equilibrium between fonctionallity and messiness.


How many energy I am asked to put into this?

I don’t have much time, even if I struggle to create empty space in my agenda.

My participation and my involvement will strongly depend on the days and the months. For instance, in October, I will be traveling around Italy to talk about unMonastery and spread the news of the project (more info about my trip in italian here). During this period, a big part of my energy will be available to follow the design process and preparing LOTE. On the other hand, at the moment I am completely overwhelmed and I think information overload is already a main issue of the edgeryders platform. I am absolutely not able to process every mail and notification that I receive.

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Funding answers

Hi Francesco,

I think it’s great and quite honest to come forward with these questions. Indeed I’ve been reading your blogs about Lote and the unMonastery, and I feel partly responsible that this key information has not reached you yet.

So: Lote is an event where everyone is volunteering their time to build it into a great experience, which means that it depends on each and every one of us to get hold of funding opportunities. Edgeryders the organisation offers the infrastructure for organising it, as well as mobilizing members to help out, but it does not dispose of its own financial resources yet.

We are indeed trying to come up with creative methods to try and lower some of the costs - such as discounts at local B&Bs or at AirBnb.com, opportunity to rideshare and things like that. In terms of some fully funded places, we have managed to secure a sponsorship from the Dutch Embassy in Rome for Dutch residents only- 1000 EUR worth, and this was a matter of good contacts and trust i think. There is available documentation for people who want to reach out to their own gov embassy in Italy and do the same in trying to secure their travel… let me know if you need it.

I do hope this helps, I too have heard from [Xavier] at Mutinerie and hope he and others will still be able to make it!


PS if it helps, the way to ping people is simply put their usernames into square brackets like I’m doing with you [immaginoteca]


Thanks [Noemi].

I think there is no misunderstanding.

Obviously I know that everyone is is volunteering their time to build this.

My question was about the trip and I found it natural to ask because last year trips were funded.

I also have the feeling that a few month ago I’ve read somewhere in this website that there was a possibility to be funded for the trip.

But I realize that maybe this was my misunderstanding…

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It’s not too late for funding people’s travels either

[Nadia] is doing a lot of work behind the scenes and traveling to events, talking to people and organisations. Who knows, maybe something will come up in the end :-) and in that scenario of course those Edgeryders having helped the most are first in line to benefit.

Managing notifications

Francesco, I think an important feature that is often missed is that you can manage notifications so you are getting fewer automatic notices from the platform. The whole thing about the unMonastery is about building a healthier and more sustainable working culture, if we’re all burning out that’s not good. The expectations are not high, it’s pretty amazing we’ve come this far to begin with. Take care of yourself and maybe stop for a minute to focus on what you are most excited about doing. And then drop the rest :slight_smile:


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To unsubscribe from some notifications…

  1. Go here.
  2. Click on the "Manage notifications" tab
  3. Uncheck the posts, groups etc. that you want to unsubscribe from.

Amazing post Francesco!

I can’t say how much the work you’ve done so far is appreciated and the significant implications it has for the overall project. I think it’s important we speak soon, do you have any free time on Friday? 

RE: a couple of points that I think are useful to address asap. 

Time commitment, all the time you can contribute to the project is brilliant but I don’t want you to feel like it’s unrewarded or overwhelming - I think we have a shared understanding for what this is about and what’s at stake but I don’t want you to burn out your energy for the project or sink from feeling you have too much responsibility. 

Call for help if you need it. One thing that we try to do on EdgeRyders is distribute tasks as much as possible. This doesn’t always work out so well, I myself am totally overwhelmed at the moment - partly because I have 2 jobs in addition to unMonastery and for the past year have done all the heavy lifting possible for me on the project. But I still think it’s worth it and I spend every minute possible working on unMonastery.

It’s simple though, if something doesn’t get done its not the end of the world because everything that does get done is incredibly meaningful for the progression of the project. 

Does this make sense? This is likely better as skype conversation. 

Practical things. 

Travel Costs - I will see if there’s anything I can do. Can’t make promises. 

The 3D model, never got finished - this was due to a mistake made, we only had 2 days to do it and it was revealed on the second day that the building we’d been scanning was not the building we were going to get. I will though connect you with Mike who did a sketchup for the first floor of the building - we’re aiming to complete this during LOTE3. 

Slideshow has yet to be updated. It’s been on my to do list for a while. Will aim to get support on this in the next week.

Is there anything else you need from me immediately?

Lets keep working :-) 

Thanks Ben

Thanks a lot Ben, everything’s fine.

Your comments makes me think that my words sounded more tragic than I wanted to (probably because of my bad Englsh ;).

Anyway thanks a lot for your kind words, everything you say makes a lot of sense and it is how I intend to be involved into this.

I would need by Sunday any 3d, sections drawingds of the building in order to work with my students (I don’t have any drawing to understand floors and elevations, heights, etc…).

Is there any section of the building (already asked to [antonioelettrico] bu he didn’t know)?

On monday I will present the unMonastery to the students and I think I will use the old presentation on slideshare if there is nothing similar more up to date.


Great stuff

Francesco, it’s great you are presenting to students… curious to know how it goes.

Let’s keep working, by all means but… don’t burn out! You are already making very valuable contributions. No one could possibly demand more from you.