pokes at the claim that architecture has to be permanent. Projects built around the ritual of eating use food as building material and create an environment that is shared by participants and is only as permanent as it is memorable.
“Cooking, like architecture, manifests itself in building. The cook, like the architect, draws on an infinite array of creative resources, which make it possible to create wonders from basic construction materials”.
Both of us from Europe, we grew up with the idea that cities, places, even private homes are continually animated by people and events. As designers, we are used to working at different scales in most diverse media and materials. As architects, we see ourselves in the role of curating urban and social events, looking for opportunities of uninhibited interaction and engagement with the community.
Through FORK, we investigate how the customary paraphernalia of eating (whether lighting, furniture, cloth, silver or text) can be questioned, re-designed or otherwise manipulated to enhance the ritual of eating, a primary act of socialization. With a similar process that goes into the design and production of spaces that engage our thoughts, memories and dreams, our goal is to explore the relationship between food preparation and space production and their inherent experiential qualities. We believe that the two have much in common.
We conceive the act of making food as the act of designing an eating experience that blurs the boundaries of food preparation and space production. Our focus is creating a rich sensorial environment. We consider food a “material” for design.
During our mandate as Directors and Curators of the Wedge Gallery in Burbank, CA, that lasted from January to April 2014, we experimented with a series of food design-concepts that aimed to complement the artifacts shown in the gallery, on the shows opening nights, while engaging the visitors on a sensorially enhanced spatial experience.
Have your Wedge and eat it too was a one night pop-up event that introduced our curatorial agenda for the Wedge Gallery Spring 2014 exhibition series to the community of colleagues and students from Woodbury School of Architecture. The title was a pun inspired by the shape of the Gallery that resembles the one of a portion of cake, a tramezzino or of other delicious food when served in portions.
This inaugural event was primarily devoted to enticing the population of Woodbury students into an active participation to the exhibitions and workshops offered during our directorship at the gallery. The food-concept for this ephemeral and lighthearted pop-up was to place the food on the walls, organized along a diagonal grid and overlapping the large format images featuring the work of the future exhibitors.
The food display system was inspired by the famous (or in-famous) ‘cut and fold” technique employed in form-generation exercises very popular among the current generation of architecture students. Two typologies of food-containers were derived from cutting and folding standard yellow and red paper plates in fashion of “trays” and “cones”.
Four flavors of baked-for-the-occasion fragrant cake (lemon, chocolate, espresso and walnuts) were presented to the visitors, who after the initial puzzlement due to not being able to discern between food and artifacts, started reaching out to the delicious content of the mysterious containers. The placement of the folded food-trays on the vertical surface of the “edible walls ‘ offered interesting insights on how people behaves in a not codified interior space. The definition of art gallery where visitors, mainly silently, observe the featured pieces, is here subverted by inducing the visitors to consuming the edible artifacts until there is none left and the installation changes its appearance and function.
Blue Collar talents was an exhibition of the exquisitely crafted work of Studio Cortez (a division of RAC design Build). This team of architects and fabricators led by the cerulean acuity of uber-inventive Rick Cortez pursue the mandate of “making something beautiful daily” following Leonardo’s motto “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
For this show we opted for a very simple, accessible and unpretentious morsels: sliced of freshly baked bread with various toppings. The slices were displayed in a long row, each portion resting on a 2×4 wall mounted lumber elements. Salted butter and prosciutto, walnuts and gorgonzola, mortadella, aged cheese and salami were selected to compose a simple and yet sophisticated food display. As the opening night proceeded the food progressively disappeared from the shelves leaving only a blue napkin and some bread crumbs as witnesses.
The food design concept for Stack and Gather, an exhibition by Freyja Bardell and Brian Howe of Greenmeme, was inspired by the original title of the installation that read: “Stack and gather: re-arrangeable picnic spots in Monteith Park. Picnic food has to be easy to carry and to eat wihotut the aid of too many utensils. We decided to create a “modular” installation of brown paper bags containing a delicious Armenian treat called brdooch and composed of rolled lavash bread filled with cheese and herbs. Apples, pears, oranges, candied starfruit and hardboiled eggs completed the food installation resting on shelves.
On the Front Burner:
BlindAte investigates how the ritual of eating, a primary act of socialization, can be enhanced by stimulating all the senses. Through a similar process that goes into the design and production of spaces that engage our thoughts, memories and dreams, our goal is to explore the relationship between food preparation and space production and their inherent experiential qualities.
If you would like to see our project at your art opening, art walk or related event, please contact us.