By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen
Designers never cease to amaze me. Not only their talent for designing interior spaces, but also how far reaching their artistic ability stretches. As a board member for NEWH New York, I help put on our Product Runway fundraiser where we pair designers and manufacturers to create a piece of fashion from the products, in less than three months no less. The looks are modeled in a runway show, which always gives me goosebumps as I watch the amazing, intricate pieces strut by me. For a gal that can barely draw a stick figure or cut a straight line (much to the chagrin of my children), the evening is quite awe-inspiring.
I had the same feelings when I judged the first annual WATG Great Architectural Bake Off this week, held in celebration of Archtober. Seven design firms, including Grade New York, Jeffrey Beers International, Studios Architecture, MADE, Bespoke, and Woods Bagot, along with sponsor/organizer WATG and Wimberly Interiors, were tasked with creating desserts in the form of their favorite buildings.
I learned that fondant and other yummy ingredients are not forgiving mediums, and that gravity was not on their side while building these stacked creations. This was not an easy challenge.
In three hours, the teams took what they had baked (many over the weekend) and turned parts into culinary greatness, representing some iconic buildings.
The other judges—Benjamin Prosky, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York; Michael Laiskonis, creative director of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education; David Graver, senior editor of Cool Hunting—and I judged for likeness to the building, innovation in materials, and taste, which for me with Crohn’s Disease was a challenge, but I deferred to our resident pastry chef.
In the end, Studios Architecture grabbed top honors for its very realistic creation of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, complete with a marzipan figure of the late architect. We watched them perfectly lay every curve to the complex building. A close second was Grade New York’s detailed rendition of Philip Johnson’s Glass House (they even scored the chocolate house with bricks to scale).
It was another night that proved to me our industry’s talent really has no limits.