Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bompas & Parr Voyage of Discovery

Never ones to rest on their laurels, this summer dynamic duo Bompas & Parr embarked upon their most ambitious project to date; turning the rooftop of London department store Selfridges into a pleasure boating lake complete with emerald green water.

Celebrating the journey of sponsors Truvia from edible leaves ten times sweeter than sugar found on the Stevia plant in the Iguazu Falls in South America, used for centuries by the natives to sweeten their Maté tea, to its final destination as a sweetener making its debut in the Oxford Street store, the boys brought the journey to life with their pea green lake filled with 60 tonnes of water. Only the second time in 65 years the roof has been opened to the public, the project revived Selfridges' roof, which once housed a boating lake, gardens, cafés, a golf course and a rifle range, to its former glory as a pleasure space.

Intrepid explorer that I am, having taken a lift lined with battered books up to the rooftop, on stepping out into the sunshine, I was eager to jump into one of the row boats and set sail. Assisted by a caped crusader, once my friend and I were in, we manned an oar each and started rowing – backwards at first, but soon we were gliding across the kryptonite coloured water like a skate across ice, treated on our travels to a spectacular view across the capital.

En route we passed a lady dishing out Stevia covered strawberries from a silver platter, which were so divine in their sweetness, I nearly capsized attempting to grab a second. The most perilous part of the journey involved traversing a waterfall aiming to emulate the the Iguazu Falls. Luckily, we were provided with a giant umbrella on arrival, and so emerged only slightly sodden rather than soaked to the bone – just as well, given my white attire.

After our exploratory exertions, our thirst was slaked with a Stevia-infused Singapore Sling cocktail courtesy of the über trendy Experimental Cocktail Club, served from a giant cristal decanter by angle-faced sailor boys.

Should alcohol have proved too much, virgin cocktails were being handed out in plastic medicine bottles. The one I'm holding in the photo was empty when I found it, so I'm unable to report back as to the potency of the elixir inside.

After a blissful hour relaxing on the rooftop to a soundtrack of animated banter from an adventure hungry crowd, we were ushered from the comfort of cushions back down to the bustle of the perfume department via the book battered lift. The urge to pocket Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea during the ten second journey bordered on kleptomania.

Before leaving, we were given a Stevia plant as a gift. Spurting out of the canary yellow Selfridges bag it was housed in, I paraded my plant with pride down Oxford Street and received some odd looks from fellow tube dwellers on the way home as I munched, rabbit like, on the tooth-tinglingly sweet leaves.

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