Pomarius for The Waterside Inn - Part I
In 2022, The Waterside Inn in Bray celebrated 50 years of service since its opening by Michel Roux in 1972. Now in the hands of his son, Alain, the restaurant is the only in the world to hold three Michelin stars outside of France.
It’s fair to say, I was utterly delighted when the Roux family reached out to discuss a special commission for the space back in January.
The restaurant, associated cookery school, and accommodation has been gradually redesigned to coincide with the 50th anniversary. As part of this work, I was asked to produce a series of sculptures for the main restaurant space - a group for every table. Alain’s wife, Lauren has overseen the redesign and kindly showed me around the space back in January to see which pieces and varieties we felt would work best.
Ultimately over 50 works were created for the space, a project I was working on from January through to their delivery in April.
The selection and arrangement of the pieces was made to mirror the ethos of the menu itself, with the focus on a particular ingredient within each dish. As well as vegetables and fruit pieces, I would produce several shell fish works too. A lobster, as featured in one of Michel’s original recipes still enjoyed at The Waterside, and a crab - but to be finished with patina. I have created shellfish works before but always finished as bronze. For this project all pieces would need to have a colour patina to work within the setting.
I would also produce several new editions of squash for the commission. A sliced Crown Prince being one of these. It’s a design I’ve wanted to try for some time so I was delighted to take this as an opportunity to do so. The squash itself was one I had taken from Aldourie’s kitchen garden and so there was a chance to unite two important sites for the studio in a single outcome. The larger works were all produced using the traditional Renaissance Lost Wax process. Each one is created in wax from a mould first, tidied up and ‘chased’, and then cast allowing for variations and editions.
Images below show various stages in that process - painting into silicon moulds, reassembling waxes from cast sections and cleaning up and refining detail in the final waxes.
On my first meeting with Laura and Alain at the space, I managed to obtain some cep mushrooms from the kitchen. The porcini feature in several of their most iconic recipes and I felt they had to appears as one of the groups as a result. It was wonderful returning the very same mushrooms to the space so many months later as finished bronze casts.
Image below show finished works waiting for patina - a mixture of cep mushrooms, artichokes, Duchesse d'Angouleme and Williams pears.
Pomarius collections have explored numerous gardens and growers over the years. The culinary experience draws on much of the same reverence for produce, ingredient and skill and so it was wonderful to expand the connotations and symbolism of the work through this commission.
Having now delivered the works, I have a couple of additional pieces still to finish and a few swaps to make. Once in place, it was easier to see how the sculptures worked together and where changes could be made to the overall scheme. I will share images of the final designs in the space once documented. The pictures in this journal post show pieces being made and in the studio ready for packing up! For now - here I am in the space proudly handing over a bunch of bronze garlic and a lobster!