Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has commissioned an art installation depicting Dubai’s famous skyline and iconic buildings made entirely out of food. The unique work, which represents the city’s growing profile as a gastronomy destination, was created by UK-based food artist Paul Baker and is on display at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London, UK ahead of being shipped to Dubai to be on display during the Dubai Food Festival, which takes place 6-28 February 2015.
Commenting on the installation, Baker said: “To be asked to create a foodscape model of Dubai was an honour and a huge challenge. We had to incorporate as many landmark buildings and geological features as possible, all made from food that wouldn’t deteriorate. We needed to find produce and food stuffs that not only wouldn’t wilt, smell or decompose but could actually look like buildings. After all, fresh produce is not normally square or rectangular in form. The challenge was to design and construct interesting and recognisable buildings from organic-looking shapes.”
Baker headed a team of six, made up of his best model makers. Together, they spent three hard weeks to create the spectacular foodscape, problem solving at every turn.
One of the big initial questions was how to make the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which Baker describes as “the lynchpin of the whole project”. He eventually decided to use sweet corn – a total of 90 cobs – along with baby corn. After that, the rest of the buildings quickly fell into place.
Other famous Dubai landmarks depicted within the model include the Burj Al Arab, for which tubular pasta, lasagne pasta, tortilla wraps, cheese biscuits, diced barbecue chicken, dried herbs and shortbread biscuits were used to recreate the hotel’s distinctive shape. The Dubai World Trade Centre is made of milk and white chocolate bars, while a combination of white bread, pretzel sticks and roasted seaweed was used to model Jumeirah Emirates Towers.
Atlantis The Palm, meanwhile, is made from thin Italian crackers and green and flat pasta, with the Palm Jumeirah made of French batons. The world’s largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall, is made up of a slightly longer list of ingredients, namely green peppers, French beans, broad beans, leeks, courgettes and baby courgettes, while the Dubai Metro, which runs the length of the city, is made of croissants and white chocolate sticks.
Every last component of the installation is made of food – including the ‘sand’ on Dubai’s many beaches. For this, Baker and his team mixed 2kg of freekeh wheat, 5.5kg of oat flakes, 2kg of coconut, 5kg of medium grain rice and 100g of cinnamon powder. Other ingredients used in the installation include chicken breasts, lamb kebabs, fruit pastries, waffles, rice cakes, slices of cheese and plenty more fruit and vegetables.
Accompanying the foodscape display is a fun, informative film revealing the production process behind the installation. The film was made in collaboration with production company Mench and will also be shown at Dubai Tourism’s stand during World Travel Market.
Paul Baker, the food sculptor, designer and model maker behind the installation, started model making as a career while studying graphic design. His work has received numerous accolades including a D&AD silver award and the ‘People’s Choice For Small Garden’ award at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in the UK.