Review: Rubellite, A Winter’s Feast

Published:  August 2, 2011
Review: Rubellite, A Winter’s Feast

Rubellite: A Winter’s Feast is a State of Design event produced by Passion Victims’ Tracy Quertier, which combined an exquisite dinner with a sublime design showcase.

Last week Tracy presided over a three-course feast which transformed the sensory quality of creative cuisine into a heightened, aesthetic experience. Taking the seductive Rubellite – a gem associated with joie de vivre and desire – as her starting point, Tracy enlisted Melbourne designers to create distinctive works for the event. “Love is a large universal emotion and what better way to represent this, than sharing our love for food and creativity around a dinner table,” said Tracy.

Following champagne and canapés, guests were treated to an evening where culinary delights were interspersed with arresting displays of jewellery, fashion and design. The idea of ‘table jewellery’, I suppose, has been around since mermaids strung garlands of pearls around their oyster shells, but here the idea resonated anew in a contemporary, intimate setting.

Kim Wong

Cuisine on the night became a fully considered art form that harmonised with the design components to create a sensorial pleasure dome. The three-course meal, sublimely rendered by chef Andreas Papadakis for Comida Bebe, featured a wild mushroom risotto with herb emulsion, Wagyu beef fillet and oxtail with corn puree and red wine sauce, and a dark chocolate fondant with milk icecream. Linnaea Vineyards presented the sanguine glory of their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Linnaea Rhizotomi 2008. The surrealist flourishes of the wine label did not fail to disappoint.

Design elements extended to all aspects of the table setting, including coasters by Thirst Impressions. Lighting designer Volker Haug’s candelabra shed an exultant source of light on the subject, its jubilant colours branching out into an inspiring triumph of form and function. The piece, Haug explains, was created from aluminum tubing which was sledge hammered, anodised then decorated with thinly wrapped red and black leather and filled with sand to give it the right weight and allow the candles to burn safely.

O.T.T by Lia T put an alluring spin on a reptilian theme, snapping up diners’ attention in the process. Lia Tabrah created what she describes as a ‘Darwinesque natural habitat’ complete with a miniature ‘No swimming, Crocodiles’ sign for her 24 carat gold-plated crocodile feet earrings, crocodile foot necklace (replete with enamel paint toe nails) and crocodile tail necklace.

O.T.T. by Lia T

Hannah Carlyle’s rosy clusters of resin jewellery existed in perfect symbiosis with the night’s come-hither chromatics. Elsewhere, Kim Wong’s mirror-embellished, beaded bracelets and necklaces conjured visions of an Indian princess travelling through the shifting sands of time. Her jewellery was draped over artfully arranged banana leaves and exotic miniature treasure chests to create a tableaux Wong describes as a “tropical exotic jewellery jungle”.

Gordon Tait created a futuristic, metallic rendition of the diamond form in Brilliant, a stainless steel, three-dimensional object which created an otherworldly presence in the room. Tait translated his interest in diamonds into a sculptural form and in doing so created a piece with an intriguing point of difference. “In Brilliant’s case the light does not shine through but bounces off the work creating a brilliant reflective array,” Tait explains. The piece was constructed using triangulation to facet metal pieces into 2D forms; they were then laser cut, before being folded using a folding machine and finally welded together. Tait’s creation was juxtaposed on the night with a remarkably opulent hand tufted, polyester shagpile rug by The Rug Collection.

When guests weren’t ooh-ing and aah-ing over the platters of jewels and the array of Mediterranean-infused flavours, they were being treated to a showcase of Australian fashion. Models were silkily draped in designs by Romance Was Born, Alexi Freeman, Arnsdorf, Lui Hon and S!X, all carefully selected by Milly Sleeping. Styled with their hair in perfect top knots, the models channelled these sartorial diversions gracefully. Oh and did I mention that the models were actually responsible for ‘serving’ the jewels? I quite like that touch, actually.

The altar

A dynamic was created between diners and the surrounding spaces, which were occupied by a number of arresting artworks. Standouts included the high voltage, eye-popping wonderlands created by artist Holly-Anne Buck, as well as Tracy Quertier’s flower-strewn, pink neon-lit altar of passion, which bathed the room in a warm glow.

Host Jerry Pura, as jovial as a Christmas elf, provided comic tinged interludes, while the understated majesty of violinist Phillip Karajev’s music provided an impassioned portal through which diners could escape into the world of Tracy’s uplifting vision.

The proceeds of ticket sales for this event raised money for Feed Melbourne, and aimed to draw attention to the 1 Billion Hunger Project.

The exhibition continues at Rue de Fleurus until August 7.
153 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

All images copyright Mathias Smet.

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