When pyrotechnics and food collide
London, 2013/2014: Bompas & Parr created the world’s first multi-sensory firework display for London’s New Year’s Eve.
Visitors watching London’s fireworks between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge experienced a total sensory assault with different coloured fireworks matched to fruity flavours: as red pyrotechnics exploded in the sky, the city was engulfed in a strawberry flavoured cloud.
Though all fireworks are, strictly speaking, ‘multi-sensory’, this was the first time in the history of mankind that specific flavours have been choreographed to match pyrotechnics.
The groundbreaking event, designed for Vodafone, in partnership with the Mayor of London, included clouds of apple, cherry and strawberry mist, peach snow and ‘floating oranges’, while thousands of enormous bubbles were filled with Seville orange-flavoured smoke and edible banana confetti.
Why fruit fireworks?
Fruit is, arguably, nature’s way of celebrating. Across the world, there are 240,000 to 500,000 plant species that bear fruits, of which 70,000 to 80,000 are thought to be edible and tasty, so the editing process has been crucial.
For the display, the fruits were deliberately chosen to be cross-cultural, so everyone could relate to them, and recognisable so that they could be understandable in the smoke and fury of a fireworks show. Bompas & Parr worked with flavour scientists at TasteTech and ensured all flavorings were halal and kosher approved.
Then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "A spectacular display of pyrotechnics that you can taste and even smell! Where else but London would you get such an experience? Whether you are getting a sensory overload along the river, or having your new year reality augmented at home, our partnership with Vodafone is creating a fantastic first for London, one that will help kick off 2014 in magnificent style."
Harry Parr said: “Our ambition was simple – ‘flavoured fireworks,’ and the greatest number of people in human history having a simultaneous multi-sensory experience.”
Photography by Stefan Braun and Vodafone.