Features

Interview: Air Miles with Sam Bompas

2 May 2021 by Hannah Brandler
Sam Bompas

Sam Bompas is co-founder of Bompas and Parr, a London-based creative studio which designs immersive experiences around the world.

Has travel inspired your creations?

After travelling to Boscastle in Cornwall to visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic and stay in the supposedly haunted Wellington Hotel, we were inspired to write Ghost Stories of Tripadvisor. We collected accounts of strange goings-on in hotels registered on Tripadvisor for a boisterous collection.

What has been your most rewarding travel experience?

Working in food, you often get to feast tremendously. Being served a whole cow’s head (brains and all) at the restaurant Africola in Adelaide was wild.

And most challenging?

Running around Sao Paulo trying to find liquid nitrogen for a flavour explosion on stage. We ended up borrowing some from a local hospital where someone’s cousin worked. It was an exciting race against time.

How are you adjusting to the "new normal"?

We grind on with diversifying the business in term of locations (opening a studio in Hong Kong to serve Asia-Pacific), sectors and the team. Happily, this endeavour was already in train as we prepared ourselves for Brexit.

How has the pandemic affected creativity?

The pandemic has given our creative practice a real spanking. In some ways this can be refreshing too. We’ve looked at new techniques to tour shows globally without sending the regular production teams. So our Fountain of Hygiene exhibition on the future of hand sanitisation, which showed in London’s Design Museum last summer, is now on display at Haw Par Music in Hong Kong, orchestrated without any travel.

What's your dream destination?

Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, the place on the planet most struck by lightning. There’s a lightning show there 297 days a year, on average.

What are your indispensable travel gadgets?

Taking off and realising you’ve left your wallet and all means of payment on your dresser provokes a sense of creeping fear. Especially when you are headed for a week in LA. I managed to wangle my way through it with a charged phone, excellent network and the Uber app.

What's your IFE pick?

I don’t hold back and buy at least a book a day; totally excessive but I endeavour to read them all. Without input, there’s no output. Our studio motto is drawn from William Blake – ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.’

Is sustainability important to you?

Sustainability is crucial for the practice. It has led to projects like the Butterfly Biosphere in London’s Grosvenor Square in 2019, which looked at the unsung heroes of pollination.

Right now, we are most interested in the topic of global food security. Over the next 35 years, it is expected that humankind will have to produce more food than in the entirety of human history.

What's next?

We’ve re-invented the Benham and Froud brand, originally founded in 1785, to make super-luxury jellies that pulsate in time with your heartbeat as well as being delicious.

bompasandparr.com

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