Pop-up restaurant event comes to Chilean cultural hotspot

Set-designer Tony Hornecker’s renowned “vagabond” dining experience, where diners eat served by ‘beautiful freaks’ at the centre of a giant art installation, is landing in Valparaíso. 

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A leading artist from the UK’s Royal College of Art and a designer at the forefront of East London’s most creative, Tony Hornecker is bringing rather a bizarre project to Chile’s coastal town of Valparaíso.

Over a period of seven years Hornecker turned his Dalston-based studio into a tangle of balconies and secret rooms, decked it out with the array of trash and thrown-out objects he amassed for his fantastical creation, and began work installing the Blue Door pop-up restaurant.

His creation turned the heads of many, including New York Times reporter Stefan Klenke, who lamented the demise of the London restaurant in a blog piece, and told New Yorkers that Hornecker’s new project on its way over to them was something to really get excited about.

Asked where his idea came from, Hornecker attributed the Pale Blue Door to “some desperate times … the recession hit and the work just vanished,” he said in an interview with Jotta magazine. “I realised I was four months behind in the rent and was going to have to do something pretty quick.

“We went round making little tables in all the nooks and crannies, a table in the shack, a table in my bedroom. We made tablecloths from scraps of fabric in the workshop, old shirts became napkins. I had been collecting old plates and cups and old tea pots for a while and I just added to these from car boots etc.”

After a massive success, The Pale Blue Door has since been held in Santiago, Buenos Aires, the Glastonbury Festival and Berlin.

The Valparaíso installation is located in Valparaíso’s port between the carriages of a forgotten train; paying homage to the theme behind much of Honecker’s original work – nomadic life and long journeys. It opened Feb. 16 – 20, and opens again Feb. 23 – 27, from 9pm onwards each day.

For more about Tony Hornecker, visit his blog.

This post is also available in Spanish