Friday, 12 November 2010

Damien Hirst, PHARMACY Restaurant + Bar

Designers and restaurants. Something I have been pondering in my consideration of the ISTD brief: Muttod Quad, my task? To design a typographic restaurant. I am undecided as to whether this brief is a branding venture, an interior design challenge, research into 'Alphabetti Spaghetti' or a way to use a specific topic, in this case, Gastronomy and explore it typographically.
I am leaning towards the latter. A branding task may be appropriate if asked to re-design a restaurant, but this notion of a typographic restaurant, suggests the need for more than understated elegance and culinary clichés. Perhaps clichés will be embraced, exaggerated, exploited or avoided completely. Does the restaurant have to physically exist, could it be a fantasy land, magical, surreal? What would a typographic waiter look like? how would the walls be decorated?Lampshades, cutlery, candles, menus, bar signs etc etc....the possibilities are endless.
As a starting point I have been looking at Damien Hirst's Pharmacy Restaurant + Bar, Hirst has taken the theme of pharmaceuticals and applied it to a restaurant environment. The venue appears clinical, sanitary, stark, yet there is something intriguing an complex about display cabinets of over the counter drugs, signage in turquoise neon and chairs of waiting room standard, a complete parody of a pharmacy. The whole experience seems as though it would be quite jarring and possibly unenjoyable, but at least you can say 'I went to Damien Hirst's Pharmacy' I have no idea if the food tastes good, but is that what the 'Designer's Restaurant' is about. Who cares what the food tastes like as long as it's making history? Hirst's restaurant opened in Notting Hill, London in 1997. After breaching the Medicines Act, 1968, which restricts the use of "pharmacy". The restaurant's name was subsequently changed to "Army Chap", and then "Achy Ramp": anagrams of "Pharmacy". The restaurant itself closed in September 2003. Hirst, who had only loaned the restaurant the artwork on display on the premises, went on to pocket over £11 million when the items were auctioned at Sotheby's

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