At House of Coco we love trying new things, especially when they involve alcohol and a good time. Bompas & Parr’s Alcoholic Architecture arrives in Borough Market on 30th July, featuring a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail. The installation is the world’s first alcoholic weather system for your tongue where meteorology and mixology collide.
Set in a Victorian building that was once the original home and offices of The Trustees of Borough Market, the bar takes over the basement – itself a former banana store for unripe fruit arriving from the West Indies – and will source many ingredients for its drinks list from Borough Market itself.
The installation explodes drinks to the scale of architecture for a beautiful, inhabitable world that spatialises the world’s best cocktails and creates a fully immersive alcohol environment. The focus will be on the flavour sensation that occurs when fine art meets the world’s best bartending.
Guests will be asked to don special protective suits to enter. The cloud is entirely composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3 and made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air. Alcohol enters the bloodstream through the body’s mucus membranes: primarily the lungs but also the eyeballs.
With humidity at 140 per cent, there is so much alcohol in the air, you can see less than a metre but the high humidity level enhances flavour perception. And by breathing the cocktail, alcohol bypasses the liver allowing you to consume 40 percent less (with correspondingly reduced calories) to feel the same effect! Bompas & Parr has worked with respiratory scientists and chemists to calculate safe dwell times guests can remain in the cloud.
Once inside they will be able to order further cocktails from a menu that complements the taste profile of the breathable beverage.
The project builds on Bompas & Parr’s 2009 pop-up installation of the same name, though this will be open for a full six months.
Alcoholic Architecture sits next to the UK’s earliest gothic cathedral and on the site of an ancient monastery. These themes are channelled through a drinks lists entirely comprised of spirits and beers created by monks: potations such as Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and even the notorious Buckfast – a fortified wine so savage that Scotland’s parliament is reportedly drafting legislation to stop the caffeinated intoxicant from entering their country. All will be featured in elegantly balanced, refined and luxurious drinks.
A merry crew
A roistering, saucy and merry crew has collaborated with Bompas & Parr to realise the installation. Interiors are inspired by a collision between Miami Deco and the faux-medievalism of Jim Jarmusch’s Loudon in The Devils and augmented artwork by Tom Sewell. Staff uniforms are designed by Olivia Hegarty of Percival Clothing and combine the flair of the continental waiter with the ecclesiastical swagger of a dandified cleric. Sound design comes from Dom James, a man once described as the ‘Scriabin of Kennington’. The music playing in the bar is transmuted inside the cloud so it sounds like you are taking a journey to the centre of the glass – hear the ice tinkle, marvel at the sub-surface acoustic. Playlists are created by Nicholas Hadfield.
Harry Parr, director of Bompas & Parr, comments: “With Alcoholic Architecture we are going for maximal intensity of cocktail experience. With every breath you take, notice a fresh botanical or flavour in the spirit that can be hard to discern in a regular drink. Taste the cloud, savour the sky.”
Sam Bompas, director of Bompas & Parr, comments: “Creatively the installation draws inspiration from Borough Market’s produce, medieval history and weather to create a sci-fi fantasy where meteorology and mixology collide. Visiting Alcoholic Architecture will generate the same sort of awe and wonder we have all probably experienced when gazing up at the night’s sky. Imagine Disney meets De Sade in Barbarella’s castle by way of Medieval Times with flagons of ale! ”
Keith Davis, Managing Director of Borough Market, said: “We’re always interested in partnerships that explore food and drink experiences in innovative and interesting ways. We’re proud of our 1,000 year heritage but events like this continue to prove Borough Market’s relevance today.”
The full drinks list will be announced on the 14th July alongside the formulations for the first cloud.
Visit www.alcoholicarchitecture.com or www.bompasandparr.com for further details of the event.