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4 Cromwell Place

    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!