“How do we give people meaningful food for thought? We are feeding minds and stomachs at the same time.” A studio that knows no limits, Bompas & Parr challenge the status quo and redefine our everyday understanding of the architecture of food.
January 15th, 2020
The intoxicating aromas, the sounds of chatter, the temptation of an unfamiliar palate – this all comes to a stillness when the dish arrives. It’s this transcendent moment in particular – the most memorable part of the culinary experience, inviting you to stay. Delving deep into all 5 senses at first bite, this immersive journey into the minds of culinary artists is a feat of meticulous craftsmanship and artful integrity – capturing food’s magical spell that should be celebrated.
Culinary mastermind, Albert Adrià of the restaurant spectacle Tickets, once said: “What is creativity? There is no end to creativity. A technique or a concept is followed by another one, another one and another one – there is no end. We play to discover the avant-garde. There are no limits.”
Like many artistic paths, the culinary route holds an ability to deliver a sense of awe-inspiring joy to their audience that most creative professionals strive for. The works of a chef and designer come hand in hand – with design as a stage and food as its narrative in exploring how these two elements can work together to create something beautifully paramount.
As The Independent once described them, ‘architectural foodsmiths’ Bompas & Parr look to connect this bridge in a world of sensorial whimsy.
Penchants for making the wildly unfathomable into a multisensory reality, London-based studio, Bompas & Parr is the brainchild of long-time friends Sam Bompas and Harry Parr. Their boundary-pushing flavours & techniques married with architectural-based experiences make up a performance that is so outrageously ingenious, the individual is challenged to question everything they know about food.
This spectacular double act take on the culinary curiosities of Grant Achatz and Heston Blumenthal, merged with the architectural wonders of Norman Foster. Determined to create and construct extraordinary experiences that tell a unique tale, Sam and Harry are passionate on taking their audience on a once-in-a-lifeime gustatory journey.
Initially set up as an artisanal jelly company and making their debut as the world’s first ‘jellymongers,’ they reimagined the architectural landscape of food. Bompas & Parr saw this new world of large-scale jelly architecture as the beginning of something the world has never seen before.
Harry’s background in architectural training in designing moulds and Sam’s marketing background with a talent in exceptional storytelling made an idyllic pairing for the trans disciplinary experiential design studio.
In a collision of worlds, the two work in tandem to conceptualise and realise the future of flavour in a bold and distinct style to increase consumer engagement for any brand.
“We draw on William Blake’s ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,’ as our guiding philosophy. We certainly adhere to this, often invoking John Water’s ‘excess is success’ in the projects – be it in terms of calories or colour palettes,” expresses Sam on the studio’s everyday ethos.
“We don’t bother differentiating disciplines. The thing we are most concerned with is how each can effectively occupy and fill people’s mental landscape. How do we give people meaningful food for thought? We are feeding minds and stomachs at the same time. “
Featuring an impressive portfolio of projects titled Alcoholic Architecture (an inhabitable cloud of gin and tonic), Mercedes Drive Thru, Grope Mountain, The Flavour Conductor, The Spa Of Unconscious Desires and Nakamura.ke Lumen Ramen Bar (the world’s first glowing ramen bar), Bompas & Parr knew how to bend the rules.
Their unparalleled creativity can be used as precedents in how to create the most Willy Wonka-inspired brilliance in a wonderland of pleasure and shock.
The most recent expedition titled, Taste the Sky seeks to create the world’s lightest dessert using Aerogel, scientific experimentation and the intellect of chemist Samuel Kistler in the 1930s.
After extensive research with some of the world’s esteemed scientists, Bompas & Parr present the world’s lightest meringue – only weighing a mere 1 gram and made up of 98% air. By questioning what a part of a cloud would taste like, Bompas & Parr define the future of food, the pleasures and melancholic sensations it can bring and put that concept on a plate – ultimately eating a fragment of the sky.
“We are excited about food futures where impossible and remarkable flavours and textures are realised. Can we use transgenic for unprecedented creative desserts?” Sam questions. “Unlike other creative and artistic disciplines, we work with a medium. Food goes in your body and you rarely want to be challenged or experience a negative feeling.”
Further exploring humankind’s relationship with food, the powerhouse publishes annual food trends report. Titled, ‘Imminent Future of Food,’ this document looks into Bompas & Parr’s insightful forward-looking predictions on behavioural food and beverage consumption in the present and future context.
To welcome in the new decade, Bompas & Parr release their third instalment of the ‘Imminent Future of Food’ report. Drawing back the curtain on your food and drink futures, the 2020 report ventures into undiscovered territory – reflecting a wider strategy that attracts commercial partners, government agencies and artistic collaborators.
This year, Bompas & Parr address topics such as the sci-fi concept of AI implementation to intercept the taste signals between the tongue and brain; to deconstructing the components of dining for true transparency; all the way to discovering the newest diet fad all thanks to data-driven technology. It acts as a sneak peek into how our drinking and dining culture adapts in response to changing global culinary influences, technological advancements and wider cultural movements.
Inquisitive, innovatory and game-changing, Bompas & Parr exposes the joy in rediscovering the magic of food. In an ever-changing world of evolving cultural and societal landscapes, the genre-defining studio doesn’t stop there and to them, this is just the beginning.
Sam notes, “Each week brings gorgeous challenges and learning. The harder the project is, the warmer the glow of hindsight.”
Jump into the unknown realm of the Imminent Future of Food 2020 report here.
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The ultimate premise of design is to create better environments, utilities and tools that help people thrive – whoever they are and wherever they live, work and play. The ingrained diversity of humankind means that to design for a varied, global audience successfully, inclusivity, diversity, and equality have to drive not only the design process, but also manufacturing practices, operational procedures, and leadership style of any design brand aspiring to build a better experience for all.