David Smith our Creative Learning Coordinator visits the South Coast…
I was enjoying a meal with my family in a Brighton restaurant just over a week ago. I didn’t recognise one of the dishes on the dessert menu so I asked the waiter what it was. “It’s a deconstructed apple crumble,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well…” a note of impatience was edging into his demeanour, “…the crumble, the apple and the custard are arranged in a non-conventional way,” he replied.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because…” there was a pause – he needed thinking time. “…we sell more of them this way than if it was conventional.”
I ordered a black coffee.
The next day conventional David was in the Olympic Park clutching tickets for women’s handball in the Copper Box arena when I was confronted by Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit’. “What do you think of it Dad?” my sons asked in unison putting me on the spot. They think that I am meant to know about these things.
I didn’t answer. I walked up to it; I walked round it; I looked up and down it. I didn’t pay the £15 to go to the top of it.
It really did make me think of the apple crumble: it is London’s 21st. century answer to Paris! It is a deconstructed Eiffel Tower! It is a swirl of ideas and has the fun feel of a giant helter-skelter. Yes it is wild, it is challenging and it provokes just as our Panopticons did in Pennine Lancashire. When it is lit at night it becomes something else – like our ‘Halo’; almost alive!
I’ve always liked Anish Kapoor ever since I bought a bedside table lamp designed by him – where did I buy it? In an exhibition in the Mid Pennine Gallery in Burnley! What a connection!
The artworks and architecture of the Olympic Park have not had the attention they deserve. Everyone knows about he spectacular Velodrome (design team leader Mike Hopkins) but the Aquatics Centre (designed by Zaha Hadid), will be just as spectacular. It doesn’t get the same publicity because it has two temporary ends which obscure its beauty. They will be dismantled over the next 12 months. At that point it will rival the Velodrome. Everywhere you go the whole site has been given the feel of a park by imaginative wild flower planting. Even temporary structures like the white, puffy, cloud-like basketball arena are striking.
Branding is not allowed in the Olympic Park – can you imagine it: a world sporting event with no branding when major funders have put in millions? Well, Coca-cola, (mention Pepsi and your mouth will be washed out with soap and water), funded the Beat Box which is so visually exciting and mystifying it smacks you in the face. Hundreds of interlocking red and white plastic panels forming an ice-like crystal. The most creative piece of going beyond the brand I have ever seen! Google it!
Back to Brighton for an evening meal with friends. “I hope you like the dessert, it’s a deconstructed gooseberry cheese cake!”