The union of design and gastronomy

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Otto wine rack  by designer Ramírez i Carrillo for Delica

Otto wine rack
by designer Ramírez i Carrillo for Delica

Met museum, Spanish embassy, and Instituto Cervantes stage ‘Tapas’ exhibit

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Design and gastronomy. The connection between these two creatively distinct disciplines is currently enjoying a boom in Spain, as well as quickly achieving an international acclaim.

True to this, design and gastronomy have also reached the Philippines through an exhibit to be staged by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Acción Cultural Española (Spanish Cultural Action), in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and the Instituto Cervantes de Manila.

Dubbed Tapas: Spanish Design for Food, it will open on April 1 and run until June 16 at the Metropolitan Manila.

Helmed by designer and architect Juli Capella as curator, Tapas showcases imagination and talent targeting the taste buds, where design and haute cuisine go hand in hand.

“This exhibition is a tribute to the origins of the word Tapa,” said the curator, “which also means lid in Spanish. Derived from the ancient custom to cover [tapar]a glass of wine with a slice of bread or chilled meat to keep out dust and insects”

Glass Plate for Elbulli: Skitx 1 by Estudio Luesma and Vega

Glass Plate for Elbulli: Skitx 1 by Estudio Luesma and Vega

Capella added, “During the turn of this century, Spain has led a bold, avant-garde experiment: combining high cuisine with high design. Culinary creations are matched to their containers, thus going beyond raw ingredients and cooking. This Spanish revolution fosters the partnership between chef and designer.”

As such, the exhibit will feature more than 200 objects and instruments, videos, photographs, and installations by Spanish chefs, designers, architects, wineries and restaurants.

It will also reflect the last 25 years of Spain’s avant-garde experimental blending of design and food, as well as portray the country’s culinary icons from Spain like paella pan, traditional wineskins and flasks, the bota, botijo and porrón.

Indeed, the tapas tradition best exemplifies Spain’s true social nature. When a group of friends gets together at a table to taste portions of widely varying flavors, it’s more than just a way to enjoy food—it’s also a great way to share an experience. This is Spain’s message to today’s world: to bring people together for real social interactions by enjoying Tapas.

Nevertheless, the curator still emphasized the role that design plays in the exhibit. She explained, “In a world without design, we would be sitting naked on the ground, there would be no tables and no chairs, no cameras or wristwatches. Design is synonymous with progress.”

Football table designed by Spanish José Andrés in his Washington DC Jaleo restaurant

Football table designed by Spanish José Andrés in his Washington DC Jaleo restaurant

To showcase this, Tapas will carry products designed by Spaniards, even if produced in another country, along with items made in Spain by foreign designers.

There will be a contemporary and cutting-edge perspective via a number of designs produced exclusively for leading restaurants like el Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca (named the best restaurant in the world in 2013), and Mugaritz, among others.

Besides the actual exhibit, an audiovisual presentation will also showcase a selection of interior design in Spanish restaurants.

Another highlight will be a large collection of wine bottles from bold and appealing labels.

All these will be divided into the exhibit’s three sections namely the kitchen (preparation and utensils), the table (objects used to sample food), and the meal (food design).

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