Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics.

By Esther Choi Published by Prestel on 1st October 2019

Home-cooking meets highbrow art in this one-of-a-kind cookbook that uses food to create edible interpretations of modern and contemporary sculptures, paintings, architecture, and design.

The nearest I have ever come to a book like the one i am about to review, is the 1987 Artists Cook Book by Jocelyn Stevens and Henry Moore. That one was a series of recipes illustrated by artists who contributed to the book. This one is much more inspired and original in its concept .

From the mind of Esther Choi comes Art-Inspired Recipes as Contemporary Sculptures. The writer, photographer, and artist has compiled a list of recipes inspired by artists, designers, and their creations, all staged in contemporary arrangements. Recipes seek to distill the practices of figures such as Frida Kahlo and Barbara Kruger into their best and most delicious aspects—like the crisp and bright Frida Kale-o Salad, or the crimson-coloured and acerbic Rhubarbara Kruger Compote.

The idea was first launched during a series of participatory dinner parties Choi hosted in 2015 after discovering a 1937 menu designed by artist László Moholy-Nagy for Bauhaus founder and architect Walter Gropius. After creating her own set of detailed dishes, she decided to compile them into a book that would be a playful spin on the artists she admired.

“I hosted the first in a series of ‘Le Corbuffets’ in my Brooklyn apartment, a project which carried on until 2017,” she explains on her web site. “Offering meals to an assortment of guests, these social gatherings revolved around the consumption of absurd, pun-inspired dishes that referred to canonical artists and designers. As a commentary on the status of art, food, and design as commodities to be ‘gobbled up’ by the market, the project deliberately twisted idioms to explore the notion of ‘aesthetic consumption’ though taste and perception.”

You can see her photographs, in Le Corbuffet will be published October 1. 2019 You can see her photographs, in additions to snippets of recipes from what she describes as “a conceptual artwork in the form of a cookbook”   Esther was one of the six recipients of the 2019 Richard

Andrea Branzini grilled fish

Rogers Fellowship, an award and residency program at the Wimbledon House in London, the landmarked residence designed by Lord Richard Rogers for his parents in the late 1960s. The six fellows named for the 2019 cycle were chosen from nearly 140 applicants from around the world. Since its inception, the Richard Rogers Fellowship has drawn serious scholars from a range of fields and backgrounds to London, where they have engaged with that city’s great research and design institutions.

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Why has Melamine suddenly become so desirable?

Have you noticed that most  of the high street shops, including supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsburys are full of gorgeous, what appears to be china, but is in fact Melamine. I was so curious as to why this could be, that I sent out a questionnaire to some of the buyers and designers. The only one who has got back to me so far is Laura Ashley, so thank you and below are the answers. laura ashley

Laura Ashley Spring summer 2017 Melamine plate with a fresh green outside feel to the design.

Until recently Melamine had rather a poor reputation but  that appears to have changed over the last couple of years. High street stores are now selling melamine plates trays and cups with really interesting and varied  new designs and  the quality of the product feels better, weightier and as though it will last for longer. What has made this change?

I think lifestyle changes are a factor here, at Laura Ashley we have talked a lot recently about people wanting to enjoy experiences, especially shared experiences. So entertaining, particularly informally, outside has grown in popularity. We have seen success with our outdoor entertaining and picnic ranges.

Is it being made from something different?

Not sure about the technicalities of product production but have noticed that there are a number of different styles that are giving melamine a more ‘realistic’ look and feel. Either with replicating a terracotta finish or uneven surfaces that that have the effect of something being ‘hand made’.

Can it be washed in a dishwasher?

Yes but not microwavable

Where has the inspiration for the designs come from?

We develop designs that we want our customers to enjoy, so we think carefully about where and how the product might be used. Not necessarily looking at a melamine version of a ceramic range, our ranges are designed in their own right. In keeping with a more casual way of living and the importance of entertaining, we think the designs should have a sense of fun and bring a smile to you face when you get them out.

Melamine is still a more affordable product than china.

 

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Marks and Spencer Spring Summer 2017 Melamine from the Frida Range This punchy and quirky floral range of melamine is inspired by the folk art feel of Frida Kahlo’s work.

 

Anthropologie 004_1029-color_RGB_Post_ICSAnthropologie  Spring Summer 2017 This range of plates has a strong Morocco Vibe with the design giving more than a nod to Moroccan tile design.

oli bonasLeaf Stripe Tray £28 DUE APRILOliver Bonas Spring Summer 2017 Melamine tray with stylized leaf and stripe design.

 

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Sainsburys Spring summer 2017  trays and plates with a nautical theme.