THINK Design: Art you’ll be able to eat

PHUKET: We’ve all heard about these elegant and unique, greater than five star little boutique resort properties hidden away round Phuket but few of us ever get the prospect to visit one.
It was my luck to be invited by Publisher Michael Earle to attend the 40th THINK Design artwork dinner at Iniala Beach House, tucked away on a quiet road near Natai Beach in Phang Nga.
Iniala is the former home of Mark Weingard, an English derivatives trader, who has an excellent eye for art and design. He’s invited a variety of the rock stars of worldwide interior design to create fashionable, verging on the incredible, interiors within the three villas and penthouse that comprise Iniala.
Seemingly no expense has been spared to make this boutique property a hideaway for a select clique of guests who recognize the latest in design and luxury.
Weingard has recruited Graham Lamb of Glam inside structure as his design director and Steven Pettifour, who co-curated the Thai pavilion on the 2011 Venice Bienniale, as Iniala’s art director.
Weingard also invited three Michelin star chef Eneko Atxa, at 36, the youngest chef to receive such recognition, to open Aziamendi, the resort’s restaurant with his Basque impressed cuisine.
Chef Eneko created his personal signature restaurant, Azurmendi, near Bilbao, Spain, where he presents a menu using contemporary, locally– sourced products elevated by his research into how to extract ultimate flavors. His goal is to impress intense feelings in visitors who experience his delicacies.
Aziamendi is a three dimensional artwork box featuring brass sculptures by Entang Wiharso sourced in Indonesia and a ceiling created by the Spanish design team, A-cero, that is an homage to the Andaman Sea.
When Michael Earle produces an art dinner as a half of the mission of his THINK Design journal, he all the time brings pieces of art to the attention of a noted chef who then creates a dinner impressed by the visible language of the art.
Not so within the case of Chef Eneko who decided as an alternative to create a six course menu dedicated to the celebration of six of the classical arts. Set to the soothing music of Daniel Figueras who performed classical Spanish guitar, the first course was a foie gras construction dedicated to the art of sculpture. His balancing of circular foie gras tastes set on glass was made in honor of Chef Eneko’s fondness for the Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, Tall Tree and The Eye, at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.
The second course, devoted to music, was intriguing, with dry ice creating an atmospheric cloud over tastes of the sea. The third providing was a vivid green, locally sourced, pak mieng with gradual cooked egg, an ode to literature.
Each course was thoughtfully paired by a different wine chosen by Head Sommelier Fabien Etienne, who mixed the tastes from Italy, Germany, New Zealand and a Late Harvest Chenin Blanc from Hua Hin Hills right here in Thailand.
Chef Eneko’s fourth course was a dramatic tribute to the black paintings of Francisco Goya’s later life with a black rice and clam paste accented with calligraphic black strokes.
Dance was celebrated within the fifth offering with the falling of chestnut leaves over the frolic of pigeons in flight. It was my first style of the fowl that haunts so many public places and I will look to them with renewed interest in the future.
The ultimate offering was an architectural salute to the Sydney Opera home with elegant white chocolate triangles balanced over a sea of Blue Curacao.
With a 5,500 baht price ticket this THINK Design art dinner was a sold out success. All visitors had been invited on an art tour of the three villas and the one penthouse. There were delightful surprises to be found in each pavilion.
At the entrance, Steven Pettifor explained he found a Thai glass artist, Maitree Siriborn, working from a studio in rural Northeast Thailand. Using glass mosaics most frequently encountered in Buddhist temples, he was commissioned to make installations at the entrance to the resort property.
The health studio has Andy Warhol authentic prints of Muhammed Ali staring down from the partitions and the pool table is ready in tens of 1000’s Swarovski crystals. There’s Ironclad into the rooftop pool of 1 villa and hundreds of celadon ceramics set in the walls of one other.
Iniala is an exciting visual adventure and Chef Eneko’s restaurant, Aziamendi, is where the select visitors at Iniala Beach House can enjoy an award successful menu..

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