A Culinary Experience That Melds Design and Food

A Culinary Experience That Melds Design and Food

Two Stockholm creatives, curious about how chefs and artists can collaborate, have launched a unique dinner party experiment. 

When translated from Swedish, Matklubb means simply food club. But the Stockholm dining event by that name is far more complex. The dinner-slash-social experiment is the brainchild of designer Petter Kukacka and his studio PJADAD, along with Emelie Bergbohm, who operates a production studio for actors and performers. It all began when the two became neighbours last year and Kukacka was keen to show off his Food Machine, a remote-controlled cooking robot he invented in 2014.

Much of PJADAD’s work revolves around food, including restaurant branding, food photography, even pop-up produce projects for Ikea. Food is one of the basic needs of humanity, says Kukacka: “Everybody eats, so we like to combine food and design, especially since food is organic and most design is not. As a modernist, it’s hard to use organic shapes, so the challenge is to create something completely different.”

At his studio’s own kitchen, Kukacka fabricated an impressive grid of raw wood scaffolding, adaptable to a host of future uses. It fills the room and surrounds an open kitchen with matching tables and chairs for seating 12 people at once. When Bergbohm saw it, the two started philosophizing about what would happen if they opened it to chefs and artists to combine their complementary skills and, potentially, to discover the thin lines between art, cooking and conversation.

The result is Matklubb. Each iteration of the culinary event, held once every few weeks, treats a dozen guests to a unique dining experience. The concept pairs a chef willing to step outside the usual context of cooking with a creative in another field willing to approach food as a tool for storytelling. In April, cultural entrepreneur Jan Åman and Michelin chef Sayan Isaksson of Stockholm’s Esperanto hosted the inaugural dinner, named The Anatomy of the Broth. The menu consisted of various broths turned into dry food items (agar-agar and broth chips) and juiced (beetroot, red algae, frozen milk and sorrel).

The night, says Bergbohm, was a huge success. “Something interesting happens when you move theatre from the stage, and music from the studio and art from the wall. This format washes away preconceptions. It creates an openness for experiencing familiar things in new ways.”

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