As a race it seems as though we’ve never been more obsessed with food, cookery and all things culinary. We’re inundated with reality programs on TV, recipes in our magazines, advice in our supermarkets and new specialist suppliers. This obsession has breached the creative industry, and London’s Bompas & Parr can take a hefty amount of praise for this infiltration, introducing nourishment to architecture and technology in the most literal way.
If that’s not enough to whet the appetite, here’s a little chat we had with them about their practice and what tickles their creative taste buds. Honest, hearty imagination awaits.
Hey Sam, I guess Bompas & Parr isn’t your classic creative company, can you tell us about your practice?
Bompas & Parr designs spectacular food experiences often working on an architectural scale with cutting edge technology. We also make jelly.
We do quite a broad range of stuff. In the past we’ve worked with architects including Lord Foster and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designing jellies for a 2000 person Jelly Banquet at UCL, provided expertise for Heston Blumenthal’s series Feast and worked with the ICA to transform Peter Greenaway’s The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover for a scratch ‘n’ sniff event introduced by the director.
Recent projects include an eight course Black Banquet for the London Design Festival, a vast glowing jelly installation for SFMOMA and Alcoholic Architecture, a walk in cloud of breathable Hendrick’s G&T. For the Alcoholic Architecture installation we worked with three different doctors to calibrate the potency of the cloud. It was pretty savage. Last December we flooded a building with over four tonnes of Courvoisier cognac punch that visitors boated across before having a drink. Our first book is being published this June.
How did you start working with food?
We wanted a stall at Borough Market. They told us to piss-off. Things went better after that and soon we were kicking into full catering and large-scale food installations.
What do you think of culinary wizard Heston Blumenthal?
Heston is awesome. He encourages people to think differently about what’s on the end of their fork. The relationship between chef and dinner becomes the relationship between magician and audience. He created and legitimised the food space we work in.
What new work can we see on your newly updated site?
There’s heaps coming up. We are building a massive walk-through food adventure called The Complete History of Food. It’s a bit like a Disneyland ride where you are fed michelin quality food. As you move through the building you go further back in time, eat, drink, and have stuff happen to you.
We are also launching a new product called Occult Jam with the Barbican Centre.
What’s for dessert?
Champagne, ice cream and ether cocktails. Lethal and also a bit explosive!