Securing rare access to the modernist former home of the Commonwealth Institute (soon to be the new Design Museum HQ) and presenting the London debut of Bo Lindegaard (one half of I'm a Kombo, the duo making Denmark the new test bed of culinary invention), we co-hosted the first in a series of four extraordinary salon dinners recently, on behalf of Æsir Copenhagen and to celebrate the creative feat that is Wallpaper* Handmade.
An intimate group of design and art world luminaries, such as architect David Adjaye, Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones and artist Barnaby Barford, were welcomed with a personalised package containing gourmet popcorn and champagne flutes as they gathered in the iconic building in Kensington (thanks to Chelsfield Partners), also known as the Parabola. While they sipped on 2002 Dom Perignon, Æsir founder Thomas Møller Jensen unveiled the brand's first telephonic marvel, the Æ+Y - a startling handcrafted handset with a sapphire crystal screen and Dutch-made ceramic casing, designed by fellow guest Yves Behar - and John Pawson revealed his much-anticipated plans for the Parabola's reincarnation as the Design Museum, opening in 2014.
Aesir
Watch our video snapshot of the evening
Dinner was served with startling flourish on a black gloss and brushed steel custom-made table by production designer Matthew Gant, with guests sitting comfortably on Arper swivel chairs.
The menu, lighting and music were all in tune with themes explored in Æsir's design manifesto, Tænker 001. Highlights included a poached langoustine dish inspired by one of its tenets, 'expertise', featuring graphic balls of extract of rhubarb and beetroot, and emulsion of canola oil and dill, which slowly dripped through a sieve on the plate, perfectly infusing the shellfish. And, inspired by the concept of 'making' was an onion dish, featuring foie gras powder, dried onion cress and seeds, that told a story about the vegetable and the terroir, inviting guests to plant their own onion in a small pot, supplied by Muuto.
This interactivity continued with a pressed oxtail dish, accompanied by a 'taste kit' for guests to finish it with. And to round things off, Lindegaard presented his take on traditional Danish butter cookies.
Meanwhile, Keep, in collaboration Tom Hingston Studio - the practice behind the new Æsir phone's icons and unique typeface, as well as Tænker 001 - devised a series of corresponding graphic projections to illuminate the space, which tied in with each culinary sensation. These were echoed by a special soundscape composed by London-based Pitch & Sync.
The evening proved a decadent feast for all the senses. Despite the intimate scale of the event, guests played musical chairs between courses, and when they finally stepped out into the night, they did so armed with the mother of all goodie bags, comprising a Jambox by Jawbone (the new cult wireless speaker system, also designed by Behar), a Noma cookbook, a candle stick from By Lassen, Wallpaper* City Guides, and Acai body oil by Rudolph Care. Next stop for Wallpaper* and Æsir? Moscow, swiftly followed by New York and Hong Kong.