EDIBLE ARCHETYPES: RECIPES AS TYPOLOGICAL TRANSCRIPTS
with Pasticceria Nuovo Mondo
As a generation - not only as architects, we are born in a contaminated realm, where each discipline blurs and enriches the others. The Arts, Music, Cinema, Anthropology Politics and Gastronomy created new fertile grounds for unexpected assemblages, helping architects to design and shape the contents of our contemporary world.
Cooking is one of the most ancient arts, and already since antiquity, it was not only limited to the production of single independent dishes, but it involved a collective ritual, bringing together construction and consumption of edible goods within a scripted stage-set.
The project starts from the Florentine Zuccotto, an “archetype” of the traditional Tuscan patisseriewith chocolate, cream and pan di spagnaflavoured with pink Alchermes. Its typical shape is coming from the soldiers, who used their helmets as a mould. Its appearance, intuitively reminds a proper archetype: the dome.
Beginning with the famous Brunelleschi's one, the aim is to reinvent theZuccottothrough architectural variables, traveling in five different cities, the related domes and the characteristic desserts. Each new recipe is developed as part of a typological investigation for an extravagant yet consistent family of dome-shaped cakes, creating a series of outcomes based on these combinations. The whole project goes beyond aesthetics experimentation, we are drawing a methodological parallelism, combining techniques and procedures, belonging to different creative fields. Rather than designing forfood or withfood, “Edible Archetypes” is an attempt to trigger a new collaborative understanding: designing throughfood.
We are using architecture as a methodology to challenge the waypatisserieis made, making architectural categories the connecting mechanisms, juxtaposed and applied to raw edible ingredients. Each recipe has its own assembling process, where the morphology of each new dessert is treated as a dome prototype: the result of architectural suggestions, mistakes and trials.
Yet the models and drawings were neither a precise reproduction of the desserts nor just previously scripted blueprints for the edible recipes. They were influenced by the cooking, while at the same time they were leading it. And here resides the paradoxical beauty of the project: working in parallel, we understood how to represent a recipe as a design and vice-versa, combining architectural and gastronomic languages in a faceted making process.
We were often using similar tools and elements with the same density and composition, independently adopting similar strategies to address structural problems and material behaviors – both in the workshop and in the kitchen laboratory.
The clear intuitive resemblance between the edible and the architectural models is due to procedural similarities and mutual enrichments: while digital softwares allow for absolute precision, the scale of components used in patisserieimplies a certain degree of dirtiness and imperfection, resulting into a finer material vibrancy and the production of unconventional assemblages.
Eventually, the project aims to create not only new desserts, but perhaps the machinery and the conceptual tools for them, then brought back as ingredients for architectural strategies. It keeps the two disciplines both autonomous and methodologically connected, determining a fine boundary where one ends and the other starts. And it is exactly there, where we do architecture.
MATERIALITY (MILAN): The traditional Milanese Panettone is combined with the St.Honoré to create an hybrid between the flavours of the Zuccotto and the tactile textures of Italian industrial design products from the '60s. A basement of naked stracciatella - obtained through a sophisticated horizontal layering of frozen cream and chocolate – recalls the laminate support for a Sottsass animalistic lamp. Here, it sustains a cylinder of yellow crumbs and several rings of spiky almonds. They puncture a pink icing cap, 3d-printed as s 15cm diameter semi-sphere in more than 6 hours, almost as long as a full size panettone needs to rest after being baked.
SCALE (PARIS): Transparent isomalt spheres - flavoured with Alchermes- are filled with cream, Pan di Spagna and chocolate ice cream. The entire Zuccotto is thus contained into a platonic shape with a diameter of 2.5cm, reproducing yet inverting the proportional process of the Newton Cenotaph, where Boullèe was imagining the whole universe inside a building. The spheres are grouped on top of four dome slices cantilevered from a pivotal chocolate stick. Casting and joining elements are the most similar procedures in the two disciplines, with actions coreographed in the same way. However, the artificial powder will never be as expressive as a thin, crunchy sesame vault.
STRUCTURE (ROME): Following the structural system of the Pantheon, the edible bowl for creamy desserts is treated as an inverted dome, constructed with layered rings of caramelized bricks forming a hole in the centre. They are an hybrid between Florentine biscuits and slices of Roman Pangiallo, oriented radially in the same direction: a yellow, shiny and smooth texture on the exterior contrasts with a crispy conglomerate of nuts pointed towards the interior, reproducing the light and dark effect of a cave. Dried fruit become smashed rubbles of terrazzo tiles, casted into bricks of transparent resin, while the liquid silicon reveals its natural resemblance with the egg yolk density.
ORNAMENT (ISFAHAN): A double-layer of chocolate crust supports rows of Zoolbias,Baklavasand other typical Iranian fried pastries between its invertedmuqarnas, creating a dome, where structure and ornamental envelope become almost indistinguishable. The overall shape recalls a rationalized cluster of grapevine, Angurin Iranian, which becomes a geometrical set of three ingredients, playing different roles: the grapes have a neutral taste with a bit of acidity, the insulating nests of fried honey is extremely sweet and the chocolate perforated layer, as a plaster counter-facade, balances the whole compound with its bitterness.
FORM (MOSCOW): Highlighting the similarities between jelly pieces and the colorful domes of S.Basilio church in Moscow, this cake creates an interplay between what is solid and what is soft, below a deceiving envelope . As in a Matrioska, there are different strata - a thin crust of pink icing hides a layer of jelly where, raisin and dry fruit are floating. The baked part of the traditional Kulichis displaced in the middle, as about to come out from the homogenizing drape with a vertical pinnacle. This pivotal element organizes a series of colourful plans, thorough result of the horizontal sectioning of the gelatinous volume.