We go behind the scenes at London’s leading food architects Bompas & Parr
16 Aug 2016
Behind the scenes at Sam Bompas and Harry Parr’s new ‘ideas factory’, it’s every bit as bonkers as one of their multi-sensory installations. ‘It’s Barbarella’s crystal kingdom meets the pastel colours of a cake shop, with everything we need to prototype, test and taste our inventions, says Bompas.’
Beside the industrial kitchen – where the pair’s architectural jellies are trialled along with flavoured fireworks and glow-in-the-dark ice creams – there’s an organ with a concealed bar in the meeting room, a jungle of plants, a dangerous chemicals cupboard, discarded snake cages, a workshop and a library with practical guides to pyrotechnics, the science of meteorology and four of their own books.
While Bompas calls it ‘creative chaos’, Parr admits that ‘the just-moved-in excuse is starting to feel a bit invalid now’. Either way, this Aladdin’s cave appears to be essential to their creative output. Parr’s ideas for experiences, designed for arts organisations and brands, range from a walk-through cocktail cloud to lightning-seared steaks and are sparked off by what he reads and what he imagines.
‘If you can conceive an idea, it’s always possible to create it with the right enthusiasm and budget,’ he says. It’s then over to Parr, an architecture graduate, and their 14-strong team of cooks, designers and technicians, to magic it up, including the studio itself, which – completed in April 2016 – was designed and built in-house.
This story first appeared in Courier Aug/Sep 2016.