Food architects Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are known for their immersive culinary experiences. Their full on feasts for the senses challenge perceptions of food. Most recently they have set their creative sights on London’s Kew Gardens.
This summer Kew is running the IncrEdibles festival – a set of events and installations that showcase the multitude of edible plants in the Gardens, aiming to broaden visitors’ relationships with what they eat. As part of the season Bompas & Parr have been invited to transform the iconic Palm House Pond. The outcome is a floating pineapple island, banana grotto and fantastical fruit salad boating lake – this is the first time in over 100 years that boats are allowed on a pond at Kew.
Along with the gigantic gold pineapple the island houses an installation by LA-based sonic artist Mileece, whose work promotes ecology through technology. She has installed plants hooking them up to sensors which interpret their electro-magnetic radiation and transforms this into sound. The plants react to their surroundings (including people) and create a soundtrack for the space. In addition menswear designer Kit Neale has designed prints and uniforms inspired by the extensive archive of illustrations at Kew.
Fun-filled and slightly bizarre, the point of the project is to draw attention to the plants that we eat. The season reflects a growing global concern with the origins of what we consume, whether this is food or other goods. Sustainability has become a hot topic as the future of our world is questioned and it is encouraging to see creatives lending a hand to highlight these pervasive issues.