SINGAPORE - The Esplanade finally lived up to its nickname when it tasted - and smelled - like durian at cake-making competition The Great Architectural Bake-Off on Saturday, Oct 14.
A team from local firm DP Architects won the inaugural contest that pits the baking skills of designers and architects with a creation shaped exactly like the exterior of the iconic arts centre.
Enclosed within one of the Esplanade’s spiky domes was a four-layer cake made out of durian and buttercream, while the other was the flavour of another local favourite, chocolate malt drink Milo.
DP Architects’ associate director Bernard Tay said that the victory was especially sweet because not only did the firm co-design the actual Esplanade, which recently celebrated its 15th birthday, with British company Michael Wilford & Partners (MWP), the architectural company is also celebrating its 50th year this year.
“We chose to do The Esplanade because it was a building that our team could all relate to. We all have a personal memory and could relate to it,” he said.
It was not the only entry inspired by the Esplanade. Property advisory firm Cistri’s cake was shaped like the interior of the arts centre’s concert hall, and was topped with real durian skin.
There were other edible versions of famous local buildings, including The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) entry, which took the form of award-winning local condominium The Interlace.
CPG Consultants’ recreation of another Marina Bay landmark, Gardens by the Bay, which it also had a hand in creating, was deemed the tastiest creation by the judges, thanks to its mix of flavours such as bandung and mango. Parks + Associates went old school and created a cake designed like an old shophouse.
A cake version of a boat-shaped hotel in China, Crowne Plaza Haitang Bay, by the team from global architectural firm WATG, was awarded second prize. Architecture firm Gensler came up with the tallest entry, a recreation of China’s Shanghai Tower that stood 1m tall, while architectural and interior design firm Ministry of Design came up with a replica of iconic local condominium Pearl Bank Apartments.
The Great Architectural Bake Off, organised by WATG and inspired by popular British reality series The Great British Bake Off, held its first edition in London in 2015. It is also organised in New York; the Singapore edition is its first in Asia.
The judging panel in the local edition included the executive director of Singapore Institute of Architecture, Mr Fong Hoo Cheong, the managing director of The Culinary Institute of America, Ms Eve Felder and The Business Times’ architect and design correspondent, Ms Tay Suan Chiang.
Ms Felder praised the winning cake’s “beauty and simplicity”. “It had an amazing attention to detail," she added. "Their teamwork was clear from the beginning, when they were putting the whole thing together, they were working like a well-organised machine. The final result was absolutely beautiful.”
The event, which was open to the public and attracted around 200 cake and design fans, is part of annual architecture festival Archifest 2017, which runs from Oct 4 to 15.