Hotdogs and Design in Treviso
What do hot dogs and Philippe Starck have in common? You might be quick to say rien but after a quick trip to Treviso, I discovered that the world’s star architect is also the crazy creativity behind AMOR, a quick fix food spot on the H Farm campus.
AMOR is a love-inspired look at quick fix food and creative, sustainable design brought together by the by the Michelin-starred Alajmo brothers, whose constellation includes restaurants in the Veneto, and outposts in Paris and Marakesh. Add in Starck with his whimsical style, subversive outlook and minimum philosophy, well, you’ve flipped the switch on fast food.
Starck’s fun-loving, subversive design
“Subversive, ethical, ecological, political, humorous… this is how I see my duty as a designer“, says Philippe Starck. This is the guy who designed the futurist Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo, Sailing Yacht A (one of the oddest yachts I’ve ever seen), and idea for asolar-powered gondola and the iconic Ghost chair made of single, unbroken piece of sustainable polycarbonate plastic. He always brings in a little uncanny humor, and this time, it’s in your face with colossally oversized masks all over AMOR.
In Venice, the bauta, an intimidating white, square-jaw mask is emblematic of La Serenissima, Cassanova and the Carnevale. It guaranteed anonymity and appeared in masses in the campi and calle. Starck’s version is a bit of a twist- a little more Commedia dell’Arte with its elongated, Pucinello nose and gold color.
“The mask, it’s a big question point, who is this guy…why?” Starck reads my mind. “The answer is ‘why not?’ The only thing we can say is it’s Venetian . . because I want absolutely, when we speak about the Alajmo, for everybody to remember that they are Venetian, and Venetian spirit is something very, very precise, very, very intelligent.”
Starck tells me his a minimalist. Or at least that’s what I initially thought I heard. “Durability, longevity, honesty, but always, always at the minimum. The architect employs “less is more” ethics, focusing on timelessness of materials and efficiency of finances, but takes a more is more approach to the aesthetics. Just like the bauta was ubiquitous in Venice, Starck’s masks appear everywhere – as the main wall decoration and AMOR logo on coffee cup, napkin, hotdog holder and the Alajmo’s artisanal beer.
As for the rest of the design, AMOR is 324 square meters of an open dining hall/cafeteria, across two levels. Hydroponic plants line the wall ceiling to floor – a nod to both sustainability and Alajmo’s focus on on all-natural ingredients. Fabulously health fast food, and great wifi- this is nothing like my university mess hall, but it part of the wave of 21st century dining which makes you think about the how and why’s of food.
A fast fix menu with a stellar backstory
AMOR means loves- like “let love rule”, love child and universal love. All that love is exactly what goes into AMOR’s menu of panzerotti, pizza, ice cream, pizza, hot dogs, burgers, fries, focaccia and salads made with all natural ingredients sourced from organic farms and the best butchers, lovingly prepared by the Alajmo team and served up in fast food style.
AMOR’s menu is junk or comfort food at its very best. How was the hot dog? To this Philly girl who rarely eats a dog when not on 18th and JFK, it was delicious.