Located in London, the multi-arts and conference venue the Barbican Centre is a really magical place—I've been there numerous times, and there always seems to be another hidden space to discover within its walls. I had the great pleasure to spend an evening in the latest such space, the conservatory on the 3rd floor, where 60 guests were treated to a very special dinner, hosted by DesignMarketo.
Alex Bettler and Jerome Rigaud set up DesignMarketo as a means to bring the work of young designers to a wider audience via their online shop. A few weeks ago, they set up A Shop in a Shop, their first permanent concession at the Barbican located within the Shop on level 3. As a celebration of this opening, DesignMarketo hosted a dinner party in their signature style.
Apart from providing a platform for selling existing work, DesignMarketo is also known for its 'FoodMarketo' events—where they invite designers to respond to food-related briefs such as 'Fruit and Vegetables vs Designers', and 'Coffee & Friends'.
For this particular event, the menu was developed with celebrated chef Maud Faussurier in collaboration with the Barbican's own Quentin Fitch, along the theme of 'Shoots and Sprouts.' Most of the courses were constructed in front of guests and the tables were set with products from the DesignMarketo collection. The tables were laid with special cloths by Amandine Alessandra which expose their pattern once wine or coffee is spilt on the surface. Each pair of guests shared a Bread Volcano by Olivia Decaris.
Shai Akram met Andrew Haythornthwaite while studying at the Royal College of Art, the two now run their own design practice and are also members of the Okay Studio collective. Her projects cover creative direction and design for interiors, events, and furniture/product ranges. Shaiâ€™s work is a combination of practice and theory, translating research and ideology into objects and visual language. Her work has been exhibited internationally and projects have taken her to China, New Zealand and Italy- although Shai loves to travel, she secretly wishes she would stay in one place long enough to have a cat.