For the Barbican Centre's 30th birthday we collaborated with Bompas&Parr to create a giant concrete cake. Its references are both culinary and architectural.
Brutalism and the architecture of the Barbican draw many parallels from the early modern movement. Le Corbusier's five points of architecture are evident in the buildings designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon and similarly inspire the cake. A grid of structural columns supports the monumental cake, so it floats above the ground much like the living quarters of the Barbican. The free-floating round facade is in stark contrast to the grid of columns highlighting the independence of elevation/wall and structure.
Brutalism also showed a renewed interest in the simple quality of materials. The Barbican’s Brutalist Birthday Cake uses a special bush-hammered concrete; exposed corners reveal the sweet jewel like aggregate within.
The cake has a recurring motif of colourful backlit jellymold forms arranged horizontally around its structure. These draw on cake decoration and the much used horizontality of fenestration and repetition at the Barbican.