A feast for the senses
0K Studios use food and flowers to create immersive dining experiences that can also be viewed as temporal fine art sculptures. I spoke to Kay Kimura-Dickinson and Ollie Wiggins about their work and our recent collaboration.
What are your backgrounds?
I studied fine art photography at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL. During my degree I started to explore the use of domestic space in paintings which led me onto thinking about interiors and flowers. I come from a family of professional florists, however, I knew I wanted to step away from traditional floristry and use my fine art inspiration. Once I discovered contemporary florists that used flowers as a medium to create installations, I knew that it was possible to take the traditional floristry that my family practiced and evolve it by incorporating my own interests and ideas.
I also went to Camberwell, but studied graphic design. I have always had an interest in food and cooking and the relationship it has with people and the conversations that evolve around it. I learned how to cook from a very young age from my Japanese mother. I’ve won cooking awards in Japan and have experience working in Michelin star restaurants and currently work in a sushi restaurant. While studying graphic design, I wanted to combine my passion for food and hosting by creating an immersive, visually striking, dining experience.
How did you start working together?
For my final university project I had the idea to create an immersive dining experience collaborating with different artists. I originally wanted to create projects in which I made food in response to the other artists’ work. After seeing and being inspired by Ollie’s floral work, I asked to collaborate on a project. This eventually turned into more of a joint collaboration than a call and response project. Once we realised there was common ground in the perishable materials and decorative elements of both food and flowers we decided to continue to collaborate.
Before the project, I knew Kay was a great chef and passionate about food, however her work at the time was more graphic design based. I think because both our mediums are temporal, include the senses, are traditionally domestic and not classed as ‘fine art’, we had a lot of room to create something unique. After our first project it was clear that we worked really well together so formed 0k Studios.
Who and what inspires you?
Originally it was florists such as Worm London and Ruby Mary Lennox who create grand and aethereal floral sculptures. They showed me what was possible in terms of floristry on a grand scale. I also take inspiration from artists such as baker Cakes4sport, photographer Marcin Kempski and ceramics studio ABS Objects. These people make me think about how I can combine my flowers with the other aspects of our work.
My inspiration for creating edible food sculptures came from food artist Laila Gohar. She creates banquets for special occasions and events which are very thought out and explore different themes surrounding food. I’m also inspired by the menus from chefs such as Flynn McGarry, Rene Redzepi and Francis Mallmann. These are all chefs that not only create striking food, but also have creative processes of making food.
Tell us about your previous project ‘The Cave by the Sea’?
When we first started working together we had the idea of doing a series of projects based around the 4 elements - earth, water, air and fire. ‘The Cave by the Sea’ was our response to water. I’ve always had the idea of creating a dining experience in a cave so it was great to finally bring this to fruition, whilst at the same time paying homage to my home county Cornwall.
‘The Cave by the Sea’ gave us the opportunity to learn and explore more about locally sourced food and flowers. We created a 3 course meal that was completely inspired by the Cornish coast, which then took place in a cave at Perranporth beach. It was really great to feel so inspired by nature, from being able to forage for our ingredients to ensuring we took into account the weather forecast and tide times.
What was it about the ‘Island Dreams’ collection that inspired your food and floral ideas for our collaborative project?
We were both very inspired by the colour scheme and floral prints. We based a lot of the designs and menu around the bright colours the collection has to offer. In addition to the clothes, the idea of the Mediterranean was a big influence.
For each course we had a different look in mind which then dictated the colours, food and flowers that we used. For example, the dress I wore for the starter has green and magenta tones that we mimicked in the colours of the food and flowers, and then contrasted these with the light linen background for a summery feel.
I really enjoyed making the dessert course that was inspired by the vibrant oranges and floral pattern of the jacket, shorts and hat. I created a pavlova with Cointreau sauce decorated with purple edible flowers and figs.
I was also inspired by the softer contrast of the pink on the white long sleeve top. This led me to create the hanging floral clouds using these colours.
What’s next for 0K Studios?
We are keen to continue our elements series and work on projects inspired by air and fire. We also really enjoyed working with Crimson Rose and hope to collaborate with other artists and designers in the future. And of course have the opportunity to create dining experiences that multiple people can enjoy!
See the collaboration.
Follow 0K Studios on Instagram @0K.studios
Photography: 0K Studios.