Monday, 24 November 2008

Pop-up dining projects are pure collaboration in London

It's pop-up time in London and the run up to Christmas is a feast of restaurant collaborations and blink-and-they'll-be-booked-up dining experience locations. So two new destinations to make sure you visit (before the in-crowd has moved on) are The Double Club in Angel and Flash in Mayfair. One is a bar-club meets relaxed diner "installation" sponsored by the Fondazione Prada; while the other is an art-fashion crowd gallery come restaurant from the Bistroteque crew.

Flash is the latest pop-up restaurant made into a makeshift reality by Pablo Flack, David Waddington and Tom Collins, hidden away in the GSK Contemporary gallery at the back of the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens. Flash follows on from Bistroteque's first festive pop-up restaurant Reindeer but instead of snow covered ornaments this year's effort has a "refined" air as Waddington puts it, with a California-influenced menu and an all-star collaboration team: the rising London architecture star David Kohn built the set from art-storage crates, the fashion designer Giles Deacon created a "psychedelic Death Star" chandelier, and the Wedgwood china has been customized by the illustrator Will Broome. Everything will be auctioned on eBay when Flash closes on January 19, with proceeds donated to the Royal Academy.

Meanwhile just opened in an old warehouse behind Angel tube (and in situ for six months only) is The Double Club. Conceived by experimentalist Carsten Höller and bankrolled by the philanthropic art home of Fondazione Prada it's a collaboration space showing the contrasting appeal of both Congalese and Western cultures.

With one side of the room dedicated to a Congalese wooden bar made from timber shipped from Kinshasa and colourful artworks across the walls the juxtaposition of contrasting cultures is clear with the lavish "Two Horses Riders Club" copper design bar in the Western corner. Add in the carved out segregated floor, partnered menus and twinned club areas and you get the idea for mixing it up at The Double Club.

"Instead of doing an art exhibition it's good to do something which disappears with reality - and get confused doing it. It's not an art space, it's a mix of cultures," says Germano Celant from the Fondazione Prada. He continued the idea was to produce something real in an art world where prices are sky rocketing. "It's promoting art but more the dialogue between two cultures and the questions that in itself raises in people's knowledge of these cultures."

Höller describes it as "About having a juxtaposition of two things at once and celebrating one's state of indecisiveness" he thinks it's a human condition "to be double".

It's certainly a double dose of cultural treats if the menu is anything to go by - and that's before you've hit the revolving dancefloor.

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