POW! in its purest form is a study of ‘tasting color’.
This immersive food-art experience is the brainchild of AIDA, a sister company to MIN+ Architecture that explores the connection of food, art and architecture. This radical art-from-art concept is derived from Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art screen print ‘Sweet dreams, Baby!’. The installation transforms a church-turned-venue, whose grand 3-story atrium space becomes fully engaged in the immersive experience. Over 1,000 individual food bites were meticulously conceived to celebrate the taste of color. These bites form an abstract sculpture at the ground level of the atrium, and the artwork’s composition comes clearer into focus as guests follow designated pathways upwards through the atrium space and reflect back down onto the now inescapable “POW” message.
To design these interactive art events, AIDA utilizes numerous architectural methodologies, which allow for iterative development and virtual testing of the installation and the guest experience.
Digital modeling methods were employed to design the tabletop for serving the food, including pixelation and color-coding of a paint-by-number base for the artwork. To further transform the art into a three-dimensional experience, the pixelation of the tabletop was extruded into platforms of varying heights, allowing the food to be more easily seen & displayed. The table design creates a dual identity, an abstract, rainbow of food that invites close-up discovery while the overall composition stays true to Lichtenstein’s original artwork, discernable only from a significant distance. This intentional duality invites extended engagement with the viewers across all sensory levels.
Extruding out from the central food table are a series of ribbon installations whose form references the exaggerated brush strokes characteristic of Lichtenstein’s most recognizable work. A 3D model of the exhibition space allowed for digital modeling of these ribbon pathways. The images above show the numerous iterations that were explored, allowing for adjustment of the number of ribbons and their placement based on the anticipated interactions of the guests. This modeling process allowed the AIDA team to virtually experience the installation, to understand and shape the guests’ journey through the space and to coordinate the required physical installation efforts prior to the event.
Diagramming and Graphic Presentations
To guide guests through the multi-sensory “POW” experience, a graphic pamphlet offers navigational recommendations. The pamphlet not only identifies each food bite, but recommends the order they are to be eaten and instructs guests how to walk through the space as they explore the installation. The accompanying food graphics are designed by AIDA as black and white, highly architectural diagrams which serve as a stark counterpoint to the physical bites whose ingredients were carefully chosen for their taste and their color saturation. The dichotomy of the black and white linework to the vibrant food sculpture forces the participants to make the mental leap from diagrams to the physical world, looking at each bite carefully and interacting with their neighbor who is also on the same journey of deciphering their next morsel.
Written by Alexandra Ierace, Project Imagery provided by AIDA, Sixth Gear Media & Team