Monday, 28 March 2011

Architecture and Food

Spanish artist Oskar Alegria contacted me recently, suggesting that I (and my readers) may be interested in a film he made about Le Dauphin, perhaps the most talked about restaurant in Paris at the moment. He was right. This playful five-minute film looks at the establishment's unique architectural style, and investigates the role this plays in relation to the food that is served there and the atmosphere that the team behind the venture wanted to create.


The film told me something about the restaurant, but I wanted to know a little more about the artist who created it.

Why did you make this film?
I have made several documentaries for Basque television featuring the best Basque chefs and I also work for a program called Orain (‘now’ in Basque) which is dedicated to Basque artists. Through these channels I began to work with Iñaki Aizpitarte for a documentary that we have just started to film. One of the first scenes is dedicated to Le Dauphin, which is of course his new place.

What is it about Le Dauphin that inspired you?

For the film, I didn’t want to speak about architecture nor about food, but rather about the paradox between the two, and about how this can work. We think that we see the same things - two parallel disciplines - but finally it is the opposition that makes things work – sometimes! Here I think it works very well.

As an artist, you have also produced a series of photos from a variety of locations around the world called ‘Visible Cities’. As a chronicler of the ‘invisible’, I’m interested to know what inspired you to choose this theme.

For me, visible cities is a play on words on Italo Calvino´s "Invisible Cities", probably my favourite travel book. It recounts Marco Polo’s first voyages, when he discovered oriental places for the first time with his own eyes. On the contrary, I wanted to play with very well-known places, our visible cities, such as London and Berlin. Instead of discovering them with the eyes, which is impossible, because we have all seen them so many times, I try to discover them by touch, which is the sense I prefer. To touch a city you must walk, put your feet on it, and walk and walk until you discover other points of view that have somehow remained untouched.

See http://www.oskaralegria.com/ for more information on the artist.

If the video embedded in this post does not work, click here to watch it at an alternative location.

6 comments:

Peter said...

Wow! You get to meet a lot of interesting people!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

I stumbled on that video last week and loved how well they illustrated the link between architecture and food. Also quite astounding what they were able to do with that space - I walked by the old Dauphin for 4 years and knew that with Le Chateaubriand just doors down, it wouldn't last long. Great video!

Julia Browne said...

Thanks for this, Adam. Very refreshing and a fresh way to think!

Thérèse said...

Great great video and great artist, a name to remember.

Adam said...

Lindsey - I'm pleased that he chose to insert a couple of photos showing how the place used to look. It was an unexceptional Paris bar - but as you say, in an area that has become one of the trendiest in the city. I'd still like to know why they kept the same name as the previous establisment though, as well as its rather unfashionable sign!

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