“Food is a major part of my life,” British designer Sebastian Wrong tells us while sitting in the back garden of the new Hay and Wrong for Hay showroom in London’s historic St James’s neighborhood. Like many urban dwellers, Wrong is also fascinated by modern gastronomy. But in a style typical of his own work, he has a surprising way of expressing his penchant for food. This year for the London Design Festival, Wrong for Hay—the collaborative venture between Wrong and Danish design brand Hay—teamed up with Finnish chef and restaurateur Antto Melasniemi (who was once a keyboardist in the heavy metal band HIM), to create Design and Dine: a pop-up restaurant that is both a feast for the eyes and the palate.
It’s not about coming into a store and looking at objects—stand-alone objects—it’s about coming into a store and having a good experience.
Wrong explains the impetus for the pop-up revolves around his belief in a holistic experience with a brand. “I think it’s just about the good things in life. As a designer—whether you’re designing a great coffee cup, or a chair or a table or a light—it’s all really integrated in terms of appreciation of the finer things in life. And considering that, and enjoying that. So food is part of that, like music, like design, fashion, like everything. It all really should be integrated, and I think the whole concept of what lifestyle is, is more relevant now than ever before. It’s not about coming into a store and looking at objects—stand-alone objects—it’s about coming into a store and having a good experience. That could be coming into the store and having a coffee, and meeting some friends and then going, or coming into the store and having a cup of coffee and buying some products, or meeting people behind the team, that’s inspiring and makes you have a good feeling. And I think that’s what we should be doing—adding a personal touch. And I think that’s what we can do.”
Melasniemi is similar in the way he thinks about cooking, and his approach to food is a culmination of his time working in kitchens around the world—including his native Helsinki, as well as Thailand, Japan, France and beyond. It’s also a reflection of his experimental side, which was most recently seen in his Solar Kitchen, a conceptual experience that relied on the power of the sun to cook the food. And while he does keep his Nordic roots in mind, he tell us he’s not that nationalistic when it comes to cooking. “For me, I really enjoy using other methods. I think the most interesting kitchens are always the ones that are kind of a fusion. It’s much more that I’m interested in a sort of Russian or Slavic way, and I like to keep things quite comfortable.” His interest in wanting to create something with depth and character while keeping it accessible is another way in which Melasniemi and Wrong mirror each other.
Dinner guests will experience their joined interests first-hand, as they nosh on Finnish archipelago bread and a trio of butters served on Hay’s colorful, geometric Kaleido trays and (potentially) season dishes like fried wild mushrooms and kale or fish soup and Carelian pastry with Wrong for Hay’s Anderssen & Voll-designed “ORI” salt and pepper mill. The multi-course meal is offered in the showroom’s Georgian space, outfitted by interior stylists Keays & Kempton with Hay and Wrong for Hay furniture and Nathalie Du Pasquier-designed tablecloths and napkins.
Throughout London Design Festival the space will serve as a cafe during the day, serving a light lunch and coffee and tea, and as the collaborative “Design and Dine” pop-up at night. Reservations are limited, but can be pre-booked by emailing reservations [at] wrongforhay [dot] com. Be sure to stop by to see a new range of Wrong for Hay products in the basement below, as well as some favorites launched earlier this year in Milan. Those in London can also purchase Hay and Wrong for Hay products at the HAY Mini Market at Selfridges this month.
The showroom and Design and Dine pop-up are located at 34 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AB.
Images by Karen Day