Bompas & Parr: The Truvia Voyage of Discovery

21 July 2011

Today saw the opening of another brilliant, ambitious project launched by Bompas & Parr, which we’ve been eagerly anticipating since Sam Bompas mentioned it in the On [Motivation] talk last month.They’ve created a spectacular installation on the roof of Selfridges in central London with the help of Studio Toogood.

The installation takes the form of a lurid, fluro green lake, which you can experience in rowing boats (or like Sam, close-up if you fall in), and a plant-covered mountain (ok, mound). There’s even a small waterfall that the more adventurous can traverse, although be warned, you do get soaked. The project celebrates the launch of Truvia – a new, ethical, and calorie-free sugar alternative derived from the stevia plant. The set they’ve designed was inspired by the Iguazu Falls in South America, the native region of the plant.

The Truvia Voyage of Discovery is billed as a “spectactular metaphor for the real Truvia discovery and innovation in bringing [it] from leaf to table”. Promotions aside, it’s a super cool space. Sam explained that it was miraculous they got planning permission and managed to overcome the challenges of installing it in such a central location. The roof required 190 metres of steel reinforcement, which couldn’t be craned up so was hand-carried at night by a small army, and then assembled.

Other highlights today included sampling some delicious (and pretty strong) cocktails, created by The Experimental Cocktail Club, at the adjacent boat-up bar, as well as some subtly fragranced Rare Teas presented in gourds with silver-plated straws (very nice). Not to mention, tucking into a Bompas & Parr signature jelly, served on individual saucers.

Enjoying rooftops in London seems to be all the rage at the moment, and this vista from Selfridges was pretty unique. Rarely do you see or notice the beautiful old buildings, and architectural gems tucked behind the dominating store fronts at street level. What makes the concept and location for the installation even more relevant is that it references the history of Selfridges. At one time its rooftop used to be a pleasure garden of sorts, hosting cafes, a golf course, and an all-female rifle range (although apparently that’s up for debate). It was hard tearing ourselves away from the roof, and making the journey back to the studio (with accompanying sugar come down)…

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Maya Davies

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