Bompas & Parr
Grange Yard London, SE1 3AE
Founded in 2007, by Sam Bompass and Harry Parr, Bompass & Parr first came to most people’s attention following the Architectural Jelly Design Competition, organised by the London Festival of Architecture, where they demonstrated their expertise in jelly making, and started to explore the relationship between food and architecture and their effects on the senses.
Today, they are much more widely known as the doyens of multi-sensory experience design, culinary architects, if you like. Transcending many of the traditional design disciplines they work with commercial brands, artistic institutions, private clients and governments offering immersive experiences to a wide variety of audiences across a diverse range of industries and they can count Mercedes Benz, Diageo, San Francisco Museum of Modern art, Johnny Walker, Coca-Cola, Vodafone and LMVH amongst their clients.
Not only does their innovative work excite their own clients, it has, and continues to open-up a whole new world of experience design for other brands, retailers and designers to explore, and in turn broaden their approach to design for the retail and hospitality industries, to consider what might be possible.
‘Breathe responsibly’ is the message for visitors to Alcoholic Architecture, the world’s first breathable bar, where customers literally inhaled gin and tonics. Bompass & Parr created a colourful, highly instagrammable, church like interior, veiled in an intoxicating, slightly mysterious alcohol fuelled fog. Visitors were also provided with white boiler suits, practical, but also part of the theatre. Like many of their projects, it was a sensory carcophony of taste, smell, touch, sound and sight, experienced in unexpected ways. In a similar more family friendly (non-alcoholic) way their ‘Future Forest’ at Westfield Stratford and London, featured immersive Fruit Clouds, with the added interest of zorbing or flying across the shopping centre (though a forest!) on a zip wire. All part of the growing need for shopping centres to attract audiences to their outlets.
Working with the international hotel group, Relais & Chateaux they created The Joy of Bees, an experiential installation, where visitors could taste rare honeys collected from the hotel’s properties around the world; a project which reflected the group’s dedication to ecology and sustainability – the hotelkeeper becomes beekeeper. The concept featured a range of rooms designed to allow visitors to experience different aspects of bees, from hives and bee influenced art, to the flower-filled meadow-like space and the ornate golden honeyed room, with stained-glass and carvings depicting the bee, creating an altar to the insect.
Working with flavour scientists at Guinness they sought to define the environmental factors that serve to enhance taste perception, this research was then used to create a series of spaces where the taste of Guinness is at the centre of every design decision; from the materials used, colour, lighting and even the air pressure in the rooms.
Bompass, Parr and their team not only have amazing imaginations to come up with these ideas, but the strategic design and marketing intellect to make them relevant, and the science and wizardry to execute them.
Their commissions may not be strictly retail, or the type of hospitality projects that we are used to seeing, but they take us on journeys which use the senses to heighten our experience and increase the depth of our association with a brand or a product. Sometimes overt, sometimes more subliminal, but always theatrical, their multi-faceted installations create unique environments which delight and surprise their visitors.
Something for us all to explore.
Photography Credits: Guinness – Donal Murphy, Beyond the Waterfall – Kitty Wheeler Shaw, The Sensory Accumulator – Daniel Resende, Bioresponsive Garden – Nathan Ceddia, The Ziggurat of Flavour – Jules Stobart, The Joy of Bees – JAB Photography, all others Ann Charlotte Ommedal for Bompas & Parr