Take top Spanish chefs Ferran and Albert Adria, the founder of circus troupe Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, and Japan's foremost pop artist Takashi Murakami and mix them all on Spain's Mediterranean party island of Ibiza.
The result is “Heart” — an explosion of taste, colour and sound designed to delight all the senses.
“This is not a restaurant, this is a dream turned into reality,” said Albert Adria, one of the founders of the project which opened on Tuesday and runs until September.
“A dream of many people. We have sound technicians, image technicians, make up artists, wardrobe masters,” he told AFP during a preview party at the luxury hotel in Ibiza where the event is held.
Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP
Around him a group of hooded youths performed urban dance routines as a DJ spun tunes and guests munched on Peruvian, Mexican, Japanese and Thai fusion cuisine surrounded by sculptures and video installations.
“It is a very bold project which combines three things that normally don't mix: cuisine and art with entertainment,” said Laliberte, a former stilt-walker and fire-eater.
“It is totally different from Cirque du Soleil, it is more in the spirit of Ibiza,” added the 55-year-old, whose circus troupe and its whimsical plots have toured all over the world.
The idea for the project was born from Laliberte and the Adria brothers' shared passion for art and cuisine.
Laliberte met the chefs over a decade ago when he ate at their award-winning elBulli restaurant, which closed in 2011, and they started work on “Heart” two years ago.
Murakami, whose sculptures combine Japanese traditional art with a “manga” aesthetic, joined the project later, drawn by Laliberte's creativity.
“I met him a year ago in Tokyo. He had brought one of his big Cirque du Soleil shows and it brought tears to my eyes I cried from the emotion of it all,” he said, while on the stage nearby a painter worked on the body of a scantily-clad model.
'Too big to tour'
Murakami's works mix with those of New York artist Dan Graham and France's Miguel Chevalier, who created two multimedia installations for “Heart”.
One of them, “Fractal Flowers”, is a virtual garden where flowers evolve into new shapes when they die. The installation is run by a computer programme and it uses motion sensors to interact with the public.
“In every age artists appropriate the tools of the era and art in the 21st Century can be done with the tools that we use every day for the Internet,” said Chevalier.
Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP
In a vast terrace decorated like a street market overlooking the luxurious yachts in the port, chefs reinterpreted world street foods with a sophisticated touch including watermelon infused in sangria, parmesan cheese pizza, tacos al pastor and oysters with soy sauce.
Inside the elegant indoor dining room, the offer is even more sophisticated. There, guests can make a gastronomic journey through five worlds – the Iberian, Mexico, Oriental, traditional Japanese and Japanese food with a South American twist known as “nikkei”.
But that comes at a price. Mere access to the terrace will set you back €100 ($110) while to have dinner inside, see the show and party until sunrise starts at €315 per person.
“Heart” will be open for just 77 days this year, said Alberto Adria, coinciding with the high season in Ibiza which draws celebrities from around the world. It is already almost fully booked.
After September there are no plans to set up “Heart” somewhere else. “It is too big to take it on tour, I don't even want to think about it,” said Albert Adria.
Laliberte said the project stems from “a search for emotion, and the pleasure of working with these people and their creativity.”
“Though we also want commercial success,” added the showman, who in April sold a controlling stake in Cirque du Soleil to American and Chinese investors.
By Anna CUENCA