London Life Events

arabeschi di latte

October 1, 2012

On thursday i told you there is a follow up to my london design festival review and today i’m really excited to share with you my other favourite experience of the festival.

I’m in love with products like all of you but sometimes experiences just trump it all, would you agree? One such unique experience for me is when i have the pleasure to encounter a project run by arabeschi di latte. Founded by francesca sarti in 2001, arabeschi di latte is a collective of italian women designers with a passion for conviviality and known as italian’s most copious food thinkers.

Simply referring to them as food designers would be limitative; in their recreational workshops, events and installations, food is mainly a tool for narrating something wider. Arabeschi di latte is based on the idea of creating a “daily sense of happiness” that is pursued through various strategies of participation and interaction that respond to basic and pleasurable needs in our social life. Food becomes an experience!’

I went to one of my favourite of their collaborations back in 2010 entitled: bramble café, which i’ve never forgotten. In fact, take a look at their archive of projects. Such creative energy! Well, with clients like wallpaper magazine and kenzo, i’m not surprised!

This year was no exception. I found out quite quickly that arabeschi di latte were in town for the design festival but with 2 different projects. First off i visited the wonderful new space of 4 cromwell place which was a new venue. In it was an eclectic gathering of experimental designers, thinkers and makers who distil the richness from the everyday. These designers work in different media and materials (from flour and water to code and software) and collaborate across continents. I liked what i saw but was keen to visit arabeschi di latte’s wundertute tea house. Wundertute (german for lucky dip) is a project by arabeschi di latte & DesignMarketo, celebrating arabeschi di latte’s 10 year anniversary. DesignMarketo were invited to browse through arabeschi di latte’s archives in florence (before they moved to milan) and created a surprise shop experience for them as their 1o year’s celebration. Genius! As part of that offline project, they created a tea house experience where you could consume some of their ‘surprise food across cultures’ and try and win one of the surprise wundertuten.

Can you see there is one missing? Well, after tea and some food and paying £3, you were given some dices. All you had to choose was a number, say it out loud and have three goes. My number was ‘7’ and on my first roll there it was, a 7, can you believe it? I think Christina and Sylvia were more excited than me as i never gamble or win anything and my face looked a bit shocked, but secretly happy:)

My very own wundertute, back at home and waiting to be uncovered!

There you have it. I now own a little piece of the arabeschi di latte magic! No doubt, i will use some of this in my own work and styling for photographs but fancy some of their more elaborate objects as per their online shop. Divided into 3 sets: series a (the research), series b (the tools), series c (the products) they all are part of objects collected over the past 10 years.

Moving on, i rushed to their second collaboration at the design festival. The back room was a product launch for faye toogood‘s new collection ‘batch’ where arabeschi di latte provided a pop-up café entitled: the m25 luncheon, a modernist ploughman’s lunch with all ingredients sourced from within the m25.

Faye’s studio space is out of this world, as are some of the products and the pop-up café, well, yes, you guessed it. Heaven! To top it all, francesca, the founder of arabeschi di latte, was present just before jetting back to italy that evening. 

You chose one of the menus and it came with a drink and a granola bar. My chosen drink was ‘burn water’, it was truly delicious. They burned some old bread, dropped it into a vessel of water and let that soak… hey presto, the water took on the burned taste. Don’t you love these big vessels and utilitarian cups? 

For me arabeschi di latte are incredibly creative and clever. I’m always surprised and elated when attending one of their collaborations and this one must have been top of my list for the design festival. Unfortunately i missed the week long series of events, amongst them a salmon-smoking workshop and a talk by francesca on how she started her business.

Here are some photos of the stunning workshop and products.

Francesca told me that the robes were specially created for this event by faye’s sister. What came through very strongly is the celebration of traditional crafts and production techniques and a refreshing sense of utilitarianism. I loved it all!

This concludes my review for the 10th london design festival. I had a blast, met fantastic people, saw some incredible design and have come away full of inspiration. That’s why i love autumn and especially september. It has the air of limitless possibilities.

How are you guys doing? Feeling inspired? Are you nesting or getting ready for spring? See you thursday!

Oh, yes, I had the pleasure of guest blooging over on deepa’s currystrumpet blog. Theme: let’s do brunch!

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  • Reply sue October 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    ok, next time i’m coming with… you know all the cool hangouts!!! 🙂

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Hahaha…no problem. Anytime:))

  • Reply geraldine October 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Wow Tina, you really find these interesting places. I did pop into Cromwell place too for a short while. Burnt water sounds interesting – not quite sure if I would like it but your lunch looks delicious. I like the design of those hanging chairs. I’m with sue, love to tag along with you next time – always look forward to your discoveries 🙂 x

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Yes, 4 Cromwell Rd was fab. Loved the venue, as well as the exhibits!
      The burnt water was actually delicious. Just loved the concept and how it was presented.

      Anytime girls. Just give me a shout. You’re always welcome xx

  • Reply Deepa October 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I love the word “Wundertute”! And I loved the post you did for my blog, thank you very very much Tina!

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Ha. It’s meant to be Wundertüte… but they explained to me that the ü would’ve been tricky in neon sign etc..

      You are very welcome. It was a pleasure and I very much enjoyed being your guest:)

  • Reply parisbreakfast October 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

    LOVE British design!
    nothing else like it out there
    Thanks for taking us along

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      So true! British Design rocks!!!!
      Pleasure Carol:)

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey October 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

    This all sounds intriguing if a little confusing. I’m not sure I entirely understand what they’re doing. You’ll have to explain it to me.

    Your menu selection looks yummy. I love how it has been executed.

    I love products too and know what you mean by experiences. I also love the experience of buying a product, sometimes more than the product.

    Thanks for sharing this and hope you’re enjoying the onset of autumn xx

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      No probs. Remind me when I see you:) These sort of concepts take a little bit to get used to. They are not obvious and people either get them or not.
      It was a different take on the Ploughman’s lunch and their execution is always DIVINE!!!

      Hope you’re well. xx

      Thank you for your comment on my guest post!! x

  • Reply Sam Lennie October 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I’m with Gerard on this one, I don’t really get where they are going with this. However, how cool that you bagged yourself a Wundertute. Like a sweet little cherry on the top of an already gorgeous yummy cake. Don’t we all love pleasant surprises, yay! x

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      I know, isn’t the Wundertutue great? I felt a little bit like a kid in a sweet shop x

  • Reply Catherine Bedson October 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I’m not sure about this food concept, but have to say the photo you took of Francesca is so beautiful her orange necklace is gorgeous, looks like it could be made out of resin. I can’t believe they got away with making a drink out of burnt toast. Well done on winning the Wundertute, it’s exciting to win something. 🙂 xx

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      As I said, it’s not for everyone. It completely does it for me… it’s quirky, different and stimulates discussion, as we see here:)

      Francesca told me she hates having her photograph taken and when I showed her the pic on the back of my camera, she smiled and said she likes this!
      I’m about to send her the post, so fingers crossed she likes her photo. I think she looks beautiful. Thanks for that!

      Darling, it’s not about getting away with anything. It’s a whole concept but too complicated to explain here… the burnt water was delic…

      I love my Wundertute x

      Catherine, thank you for stopping by my guest post!!

  • Reply Robin Horton / Urban Gardens October 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I am sitting her enjoying my morning coffee as I read this fabulous virtual tour and SO wish I had seen this on my recent trip to London! What an amazing, creative, inventive venture this is. I know just what I want to do and with whom I want to do it on my next trip back. xx

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Hello lovely, thank you for stopping by!
      It was so great to meet you and I have fond memories of the BlogTourLDN and you guys:)

      We talked about this… anytime. I’ll be your private tour guide.
      Hope you’ve settled back in all right xx

  • Reply Christine October 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    goodness, Tina…you always scope the most interesting events and share them with wonder and talent. love that.

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you Christine. Very kind of you x

  • Reply Holly October 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Never heard of arabeschi di latte, what a great concept!! So creative! Apart from the the food projects, I absolutely love those chairs. Great post and pictures Tina, and thanks for taking us along. So happy you won that Wundertute too – wish I could have been there to see your face after rolling that 7.


    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Glad you like. It’s your kind of space and the whole utalitarian look would have been up your street.

      I probably looked rather shocked and in disbelief. I don’t usually gamble:)
      Hope you’re settling in nicely, city, apartment and job! Phew! You don’t do things by half xx

      Thank you for vsiting and commenting on my guest post xx

  • Reply Theresa October 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    You know how I love a good collective – a group coming together to highlight each other’s talents. I can definitely see how you would be inspired in this great space with so much creativity floating around. As always, thanks for sharing all your beautiful photos and experience.

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Pleasure. Glad you liked it:)

  • Reply Theresa October 4, 2012 at 12:07 am

    PS~Great guest post, Tina. I loved learning about another one of your favorite London spots.
    Also, thank you SO much for your awesome advice regarding my inertia conundrum. I’m happy to say that I’m surrounded by some pretty inspiring people on this blog journey, so I know I’ll get there. Thank you, Tina!

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting on my guest post!

      Pleasure, you know I’m always here… x

  • Reply Anya Jensen October 4, 2012 at 8:07 am

    LOVED this Tina, so great, wish I’d been there to see this as well- and what a delightful guest post on Deepa’s blog 🙂
    Have a fab day – see you soon,

    • Reply tina October 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks Anya. This was totally you!!!
      Thank you for commenting on my guest post!! x

  • Reply project ocean 2015 at selfridges - colourliving colourliving August 10, 2015 at 9:27 am

    […] the masters of blurring boundaries between food and design, italian studio Arabeschi di Latte.  (I’ve previously blogged about them), together with curator Jane Withers, to install a Water […]

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