The Intellectuals Circle: MIT's Unique Seating Project Using the Domino

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Reader Comments | How-To | Joiners

MIT's Intellectuals Circle


We know... just more proof that smart people use Festool! All kidding aside, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently built a rather unique seating structure they call the Intellectuals Circle. The fabrication of the Intellectuals Circle was done by student members from mechanical engineering and architectural programs. The builders of this project chose the Festool Domino for all of the joinery which aided in fast, easy, accurate construction.

Here's what the project leader, Hayami Arakawa, had to say about using the Domino:

After seeing a demonstration of the Domino mortising system given by our Festool dealer, Mike Servant, I immediately knew I could begin work on a public bench that I had been designing. With the help of student volunteers from MIT, the Domino system allowed me and even novice students to make hundreds of precision mortise and tenon joints quickly and accurately to create the Intellectuals Circle.

After being moved around  to four different sites throughout the Summer of 2009, all of the joinery held up extremely well. 

I am very impressed and pleased with the results of this tool. Wonderful design!

The concept was to create a seating arrangement that promotes a non-linear outlet for intellectual discussions. Participants sit in opposite directions from one another around the circular bench and share common armrests. This helps encourage a clear dialog without visual cues or theatrics between participants. The Intellectuals Circle has been placed in MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Center and a diverse group of participants, student professors, scientists and furniture art enthusiasts sat and enjoyed discussions ranging from the study of fat burning cells to baseball on the inaugural night. The Intellectuals Circle has since been moved to another building on the campus for the public to enjoy. Visit The Intellectuals Circle blog for additional information, photos and commentary about this project.

A special thanks to Hayami Arakawa, instructor at the MIT Hobby Shop, and the other members of the MIT build team for sharing their interesting and inspirational project.

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