Because static spaces do nothing for the contemporary attention span, Urquiola supplied the ambiance with two installations of living walls:
A luminous textile — back lit with a psychedelic light show engineered by Philips — lined the foyer leading to the main event.
The space was set in an inviting room with the fabric shown on haphazardly rotating wall panels, embroidered with 3 different abstract CAD fabric patterns,
This was Urquiola’s interpretation of an Albert Camus quote: …. “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.”
Moscow-based creative think tank Be Open Foundatton threw an evening dinner party on April 8th , celebrating the launch as well of Be Open’s own endless pursuit of multi-sensory, genre-blurring design.
The BE OPEN Foundation’s sensory program focused on taste and eating by assembling innovative chef/designer collaborations meant to spotlight and also to engage the senses of sight, sound, scent, touch and intuition.
The BE OPEN Food Theatre offered a whole new approach to taste, with bespoke menus created by two of the most interesting chefs of our time.
The gourmet meal was prepared for a limited number of guests to test their “gut” reactions to the tastes and artistic touches created by the youngest ever three Michelin star-awarded chef, Massimiliano Alajmo.
For Alajmo’s dinner ‘performance’, guests were to wear glasses with orange lenses and inhale the scent of childhood.
The subtle, peripheral motion in the room, together with the extraordinary menu items and social interplay were meant to create a dynamism to enhance not only the social but also a lasting sensory memory of the event.
Massimiliano Ajalmo plyed the senses with more extraordinary gustatory preparations.
Beginning dinner with black rice and parmesan clouds, salt cod puffs and green burgers, Ajalmo prepared the palate for the following courses that would also include props like ear plugs, shaded eyeglasses and edible color tints.
Earplugs were provided to better focus the scent and taste on his creations like beetroot bread with clam puree and caviar or dentex carpaccio with candied lemon in a hemp and mango curry sauce.
For the risotto entree, which included infusions of cardamom, rose, raw red shrimp and purple cabbage juice, guests were encouraged to squeeze from a tube additional botanical pigments to slowly tint the recipe to a light pink.
The carrot and orange soup with curry almond gelato was viewed through orange shaded glasses, to enhance the citrus gusto.
During the dessert course of vanilla and lemon gelato pasta, the fragrance of “Childhood” permeated the atmosphere.
And to finish, liquid cocoa lip balm! And rum spray!
Guests were adulatory in the praise for Ajalmo, and exhilarated by the sensory juxtapositions and prompts. Some reported their experience as “eating colors” and “tasting through intuition”, and describing their experience as a kind of “synaesthesia.”
On the following day at the showroom, Food Theatre had its public debut, this time with the young Danish chefs and social activists, I’m a KOMBO, staging a buffet meant as a sensorial intervention within Patricia Urquoia’s Revolving Room.
Principals, Bo Lindegaard and Lasse Askov, describe I’m a KOMBO as a conceptual food bureau specializing in food design, personal dining and all out innovative dining experience.
KOMBO refers to the combination of skill (Askov is Michelin awarded) and a limitless imagination that turn traditional dining on its head.
I’m a Kombo took a visual cue from the Urquiola/Kvadrat panels, with the menu focused on the sense of touch to link to Urquiola’s use of Kvadrat’s variously coloured and textured textiles.
Arranging their food presentation in color quadrants, they picked up on the tonal range of alternating colors from the fabric walls: fawn, russet, ochre, olive, puce and cherry pink.
What they called “snacks” were displayed in actual Kvadrat textile containers and they ranged from pop-corned parmesan and red beet and blackberry crumble, to crispy potato spaghetti with parsley and lovage
To match the bowls I’m a Kombo fashioned from Urquiola’s textiles they served color-coded, Danish-Italian snacks eg red bowls served up parma proscuitto with dried beet sticks and a ruby-colored cocktail of Campari with beet and blood orange juice.
“We attached the bowls to the bottles so that people would still be able to shake hands, it’s about social interaction.” …. I’m a Kombo co-founder Lasse Askov
Three drinks were devised to also color coordinate and fuel the social interaction: a Neo-Nordic Negroni, which is a Campari cocktail with blood orange and butterfly gin; a Vecchia Limone, that is a Limoncello and vanilla concoction; and Pesto di Mele, an acacia honey and basil leaf soft drink
The partnership with Moroso and Kvadrat is the result of shared views on innovation and excellence and Urquiola’s installation was a perfect location for the “Be Open” food performances: the dreamlike, constantly changing environment engaged all the senses – touch through the texture of the textiles; sight through the use of colour; sound, smell and taste in the foods being prepared.
“The full digest is that like-minded people exist across various disciplines: art & technology, gastronomy & sociology, literature & architecture – not only do the play well together, but they live together in my mind,” said Urquiola.
As she and Be Open explored the potential of designs that allow these definitions to blur, it seems that they’re verging on something spectacular.