The last time I ventured to a pop-up event put on by Bompass & Parr was a couple of years ago at their Alcoholic Architecture walk-in gin and tonic cocktail, in which you had to 'breathe responsibly' as you inhaled vaporized G&T in close proximity with a handful of other people all wearing white protective suits. It was a great idea to induce excitement from a low visibility effect a bit like Antony Gormley's 'Blind Light' installation, (except it was in the basement of a tiny building on Ganton Street). There was also some great indie-disco classics playing I seem to remember...
Antony Gormley's 'Blind Light' at Hayward's Gallery, 2007.
Image courtesy of www.josweb.co.uk.
And this easter weekend the two food architects put on another spectacle relating to one of my favourite pleasures in life...chocolate!
Not only was it timed nicely with easter, but it was also to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first movie Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I somehow forgot to don a purple blazer and top hat, a la Gene Wilder, but this didn't stop me from enjoying the quick fix chocolate hideaway at Whitley shopping centre. It seems like they went for the psychedelic boat ride in terms of decoration, neon lights and soundscape, which worked really well to create a confusing and disorientating atmosphere. It wasn't very busy when I went along but I can imagine if there was a group of people it would have felt even better. One room was similar to the walk in G&T cocktail with a walkway full of mint chocolate mist that you had to walk through to get to a rickety bridge which sat across the flowing chocolate from the 7ft chocolate waterfall.
A big difference between this and the film was that you got to fill up a glass bottle from the waterfall and take it home to drink - unlike poor Augustus Gloop who got sucked away for drinking the stuff. You also got the choice of adding a flavour to the 'elixir' chocolate including juniper berry, fennel, frankincense and orange!
This project provided just the right amount of wow factor and fun for anyone who's a fan of chocolate and/or the film...at least they didn't overdo it and go for an actual boat ride or things could have turned out badly!