In Roman times, the art of dining incorporated all the known senses to create a total gastronomic experience.
In accordance with the ancient experience of dining, the Futurist Movement at the beginning of the 20th century experimented with sensational gastronomy. The most made famous being the Futurist Dinners of Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
Almost 90 years later, Mediamatic in Amsterdam invited Artist and Director Martin Butler to develop a concept for a NEO FUTURIST DINNER the out come being the award winning CHROMATIC DINNER project.
A 150 minute experience whose aim is to re-think the way in which the world of food, art, and science come together, resulting in an unexpected multi-sensory dinner, exploring how western design meets eastern philosophy to heighten the gastronomic experience even more.
Inspired by the ideas of Kandinskys's principles of Klangfarben, and the influence of the Chinese five elements: Tree, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, each course is created in accordance to the colour and underlaying principles of each element.
Each course is designed in a different color, taste, smell, texture, and sound to create a five- course chromatic dining experience. The project's research stems from studies in Synesthesia, a perceptual condition in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic, involuntary experience in another sense.
The project asks the question if colour can create emotion, can that emotion and colour be enhanced by combining it with other senses. Part of the ongoing investigation is to see how a combination of these senses can create different emotional and social response from the guests through the course of the evening and heighten the gastronomic experience.
Each course has its own soundtrack inspired by Newton's circle of sound and colour (1704). Butler creates in collaboration with local chefs a menu based upon the smells and elements that are associated with that colour. Working with local designers the table becomes a stage, a meeting point of design and spectacle.
The chromatic dinner is a monochromatic, audio, visual, olfactory and culinary experience which plays with all the senses.
Won the Food and Innovation award from Beijing Design Festival 2018 as part of the Dutch Food design exhibition
Before each course is served NATURAL COLOUR enhancing glasses are given out, which have been created for each course.
The glasses are a contrasting colour to the dish and worn before the dish is served. When the glasses are removed the colour of the food is naturally enhanced.
Each course has a different scent which evokes a different colour association created in collaboration with the LA cente of Art and Olifaction.
All the dishes are created with this scent as their main ingredient. As they begin to smell so begins their monochramatic experience.
Between courses guests are offered Wu Wei Zi or Schisandra berries, a chinese medicinal fruit that combines all the five taste profiles and helps to cleanse and neutralise the palate in preparation for the next course.
Martin Butler is an interdisciplinary artist, and stage director. He was trained in Drama at Manchester University, and then later Choreography and Performance at the SNDO, in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.
His work has always bridged and combined various disciplines, dance, theatre, music, film, performance, new media, and fashion, and through this interdisciplinary approach his work explores the new dramatic that the combination of different genres facilitate. Since 1998 he has been creating performance work, at various theatres and festivals internationally.
He worked as a stage director and scenographer for the international project “Perseus & Andromeda”, together with the Italian ensemble L’Aura Rilucente, which introduced children to the world of the classics and baroque music. In 2016 he developed and directed the successful new opera “GIANNI” based upon the life of Gianni Versace with German musical
ensemble Brandt, Brauer and Frick for the Deutsche Opera, Berlin.
His new media and installation work has been shown in the Palais de Tokyo, Istanbul Modern, Beijing Design Week, European Media Arts Festival in Osnabrück, LA Design Festival, Fundación Telefonica in Lima, Photokino, Köln, Øsknehallen, Copenhagen, San Pau Modernista, Barcelona, Istanbul Design Biennale, Amsterdam Museum, Pixxelpoint Festival in Slovenia, Olympus Photographry Playground, Berlin, shaded view on fashion film festival, Centre Pompidou Paris, Kasteel Keukenhof, the Netherlands, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, Marres, Maastricht, Salon Amsterdam, and Mediamatic, amongst many others.
CONCEPT AND DIRECTION: Martin Butler
PRODUCER: Martijn den Boer
HOST: Maria Stamenkovic Herranz
SCENT DESIGN: Caro Verbeek & The Centre for Art and Olfaction Los Angeles
The project is generously supported by Mediamatic, Amsterdam.
The project has been shown at:
Amsterdam Mediamatic, - September 2017
Los Angeles Design Festival - June 2018
Rotterdam Het Nieuwe Instituut - July 2018
Seattle Design Week - September 2018
Beijing Design Festival - September 2018
Seattle IXDA 2019 February 2019 February 2019
Dubai Art Week- March 2019
Antwerp x Otentic - September 2019
Vienna Design Festival - September 2019
London Watermans Art Centre October 2021
Interested in learning more about The Chromatic Dinner, or like to collaborate on an upcoming project? Feel free to reach out anytime. We would be more than happy to chat.
+31 (0) 6 50 67 88 44