Architecture has no limits when it comes to the commercially minded Jelly Mongers Bompas & Parr. Belinda Aucott has the story.
October 20th, 2011
Jelly is a profession for Sam Bompas and Harry Parr – two friends who decided to found a jelly company back in 2004.
Drawn together by their love of alcohol jellies, flamboyant food and the rich history of British culinary arts, Bompas & Parr could easily be described as scientists, architects or chefs.
“We set out initially to found a jelly company but we very quickly realised that we couldn’t afford those marvellous old-fashioned jelly moulds – the copper antique ones – that we really loved to use,” says Bompas.
“That’s when Harry, who trained as an architect, realised he could use his training to fabricate moulds using CAD design. With a 3D printer we discovered we could make the sort of things architects would make: they would make skyscrapers and we would make jelly.”
Prior to starting his jelly company Sam Bompas had tried his hand a few different professions. “I worked in financial marketing which was not much fun at all, and prior to that as a researcher for Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes and prior to that I ran an unsuccessful escort agency,” he says.
“No one was making jelly so there was an obvious gap in the market. Our inspiration came from 2 sources: childhood nostalgia and the knowledge that England used to be famous in the culinary world for two things – jelly and roasting. It was time to bring back fine English jellies!” Bompas says.
Over the course of their recent career, they’ve made architectural jelly sculptures, staged opulent food banquets for private clients (including making a giant glow-in-the-dark jelly for musician Mark Ronson’s birthday) and been commissioned by the likes of Courvoisier Cognac and French fashion house Lanvin to create spectacular installations.
They’ve also been busy creating the kind of general havoc Willy Wonka would be proud of.
“You walk a fine line of good taste when you start making figurative food,” says Bompas, who admits to having made jellies replicating the shape of Nefertiti’s breast.
“Certainly Harry and I are careful not to trivialise the food. When we do things, the food has to be eaten, has to be celebrated, it has to be respected.”
The duo’s most recent project was a stunning month-long event, for which they flooded the rooftop of chic London department store Selfridges to create a lolly water boating lake. It was, by their own admission, easier to dream up than it was to produce.
“It was called the Voyage Discovery,” says Bompas. “And logistically it was crazy– because the weight loading of 60 tonnes of water was potentially enough to collapse the entire building. We had three separate engineers working on the project, one looking at the building itself, the other engineering the weight of the water and another just engineering the superstructure – it was quite a process.”
Bompas & Parr
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