Sweet perfection – Artist David Shrigley makes tea at Sketch, London
Afternoon tea has been given a delicious twist by artist David Shrigley, as part of a two-year residency at Sketch. The Turner Prize-nominated Shrigley, best known for his satirical illustrations on everyday life, has transformed the restaurant into a surprisingly cute, super pink experience that tastes as good as it looks.
Contrary to his cynical take on life, Shrigley has created a space, in collaboration with Paris architect India Mahdavi, that’s like walking into a giant marshmallow – powder pink walls and ceiling, velvety pink chairs. More than 200 original sketches decorate the walls, the largest group of original drawings Shrigley has ever exhibited, covering the grand themes of life, death and beyond. (Fashion tip: wear white or grey, but under no circumstances pink.)
Even the tableware has Shrigley’s unmistakable design and humour. Forget about it is handwritten at the bottom of the teacups. It’s ok on the sugar bowl. “It will be the first artwork I have made that can go in the dishwasher,” says Shrigley, who also created work for the fourth plinth.
The food delights as much as the aesthetics. It’s a classic three-layered offering of finger sandwiches, pastries and scones, with some nice surprises along the way. The mini-fried quail egg and caviar on the egg mayonnaise sandwich was cute, a warm mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur delicious, and the bitter orange marmalade for the scone is made in-house. I had a lovely honey oolong tea, followed by all the bubblegum marshmallows. The experience feels fun, special and worth the £39 (from £51 with champagne). Satire served to sweet perfection.
by Vicky Paterson
All David Shrigley’s ceramics from tea at Sketch can be bought online.
Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 4500