Bompas & Parr to open new food museum because “everyone eats”

The consultancy is set to open the temporary British Museum of Food in October, with hopes that it will expand to a permanent space.

© Ann Charlott Ommedal
© Ann Charlott Ommedal

Bompas & Parr is set to launch a new London museum, based on the art and science of food.

British Museum of Food will open in a building at Borough Market next month, taking over 230m2, with six rooms spread over two floors.

Hopes to become permanent

A joint project between the consultancy and Borough Market, it will start out as a temporary installation, with hopes to move to a permanent space in the future.

Sam Bompas, co-founder at Bompas & Parr says that the museum has been a “long-held ambition” of the consultancy, and has been inspired by the Design Museum’s “journey from exhibition at the V&A to permanent collection”.

“Everybody eats”

He says: “Food has become so important in our collective consciousness, and in how it forms self-identity for people.

“It’s extraordinary that we have things like modern art museums, but not yet a food museum, when food is far more important and democratic for everyone,” he adds. “You don’t need to know about the history of food to have a well-formed opinion, everyone can be an expert – everyone eats.”

The museum will look at food’s history and evolution, and aims to showcase “the most exciting elements of food”, says the consultancy, and “change people’s lives” by encouraging them to consider what they eat and learn more about their nutrition and health.

It also has hopes to advise government policies related to food, and work with experimentation in the field, if it were to become a permanent collection.

Visitors to submit ideas for the museum

Exhibitions will include Be the Bolus, an immersive experience looking at the act of chewing and digestion, Choco-Phonica, based on the cultural interpretations of chocolate, and The Butterfly Effect, which will take a look at the role of the butterfly in pollination as “the new bee”.

Bompas says that the initial museum opening will be a “taster” to encourage ideas for the future.

“We’re inviting everyone to come along, and using the launch to start the conversation about what the permanent collection will contain,” he says.

The British Museum of Food will open 23 October for three months. The consultancy is currently seeking charitable status for the museum, and putting together a trustee board. It will then seek financial support to create a permanent museum.

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