Bompas & Parr is delighted to announce the launch of the British Museum of Food, the world’s first cultural institution entirely devoted to the history, evolution, science, sociology and art of food.
Never before has the subject of food been explored so powerfully, with a series of exhibits that align with the quirky and disruptive style of the studio’s approach to communicating food and drink coupled with the ethos and values of a serious museum.
Opening for three months from 23rd-October, the museum is a proof of concept as it seeks a permanent home. Located in a building at Borough Market across two floors, Bompas & Parr is collaborating with the market’s managers, trustees and traders as well as a selection of different artists to initiate a new cultural institution for the capital.
Through its exhibits and experiences the museum aims to showcase the most exciting elements of food. Fundamentally it will seek to change peoples’ lives by helping them consider what they eat and to spread knowledge around nutrition and health and to recognise its role in culture. As it builds a permanent collection, it will seek to become a globally recognised national resource, a platform for experimentation and innovation, and a body that can advise government policy makers on anything related to food.
The opening exhibits manifest a variety of features that embody the museum’s motto of ‘From Field to Table, Mouth... and Beyond.’
- Be the Bolus: the Peristalsis Experience – an immersive digital journey into the body, following the path of food along the alimentary canal from the mouth, into the stomach and intestines, using footage obtained working with consultant gastronenterologist Dr Simon Anderson
- Choco-Phonica – a sonic wonderland focused on chocolate where visitors are asked to experience taste against the medium of sound, curated in collaboration with Space Doctors and Nathanael Williams Music with the advice of multisensory scientists
- The British Menu Archive – a selection of historical and beautiful menus, normally an ephemeral part of food culture but actually a revealing historical resource
- The Butterfly Effect – a walk-through tropical butterfly experience that tells the story of the unsung heroes of pollination in the context of global food security concerns
- Atelier of Flavour – a gallery showcase of food as art, with a focus on how different artists have used unusual materials to represent the English Breakfast
Bompas & Parr is seeking charitable status for the museum and assembling a board of trustees ahead of seeking financial support to establish a permanent museum.
The studio focuses on multi-sensory appreciation of food and drink, acting as consultants to some of the world’s biggest food and drinks brands on new product development, promotional activity and other marketing initiatives for some of the world’s biggest companies (Diageo, Unilever, Facebook). It also collaborates with some the world’s foremost cultural institutions (ICA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; MONA; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).
Previously the studio has developed a musical instrument that changes your sense of taste; created the fastest cheese trolley in the world (0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds); sent coffee into space (taken to 37km high and back); and cooked ribeye steak on 2,100°C molten lava. In the basement of the museum, it already operates Alcoholic Architecture, featuring a breathable cloud of cocktail.
Harry Parr, partner of Bompas & Parr and a founder trustee of the museum, said: “Around the world there are various museums devoted to specific items of food and drink, such as herrings and absinthe, but nowhere has an institution been created that seeks to embrace this crucial part of human existence.
“This has long been an aspiration of the studio and we’re delighted to have been able to assemble a stellar cast to help us bring this to life. And where better than the spiritual home of London’s food culture?”
Keith Davis, MD of Borough Market, said: “We’re delighted to support the British Museum of Food. Our long heritage has seen the market’s traders embrace change over the centuries and it’s a fitting tribute to our culinary contribution to the nation that the first ever museum devoted to this necessity for life has found its first home at Borough Market.”