Sam Bompas and Harry Parr may as well have invented the category of culinary architecture. The pair began their experiments in food with a very traditional dish: the English jelly. The goal was to restore the fresh-fruit gelatin dessert's reputation, considering it had fallen from the heights of English high society to the depths of store-bought Jell-O.
When the pair went to buy some of the classic copper molds to make their first high-end jellies, they discovered collectors had driven the prices way up. With Mr. Parr's architecture training, they decided to build their own molds in 2007 and Bompas & Parr, a part-architecture, part-delightful-food studio was born.
Their work has since evolved beyond jelly creations to include a 40-ton pyramid of breathable fruit, called "Ziggurat of Flavour," where more than 6,000 people consumed 2,053 oranges, 295 pounds of pineapples and 12 boxes lemons at the Big Chill music festival. That exhibit followed a gin-and-tonic room, called "Alcoholic Architecture," full of mist where imbibers put on a protective suit and headed into the walk-in cocktail. To make their food art, the pair often has to enlist engineers, scientists and the occasional food technologist.