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Bompas & Parr creates Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi bar

Design studio Bompas & Parr has created a pop-up bar serving glow-in-the-dark sushi and cocktails in Abu Dhabi.


London-based Bompas & Parr created the Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi bar at Mother of the Nation, a festival that took place in the UAE capital from 9 to 18 December 2021.

Sushi, sauces and chopsticks at Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi bar by Bompas & Parr
Sushi served at the bar displayed florescent colours

By combining ultraviolet light with bioluminescent ingredients, the designers were able to create sushi dishes and cocktails in an array of lurid colours.

The menu included fluorescent pink nigiri, and maki in shades of electric blue and neon green.

Glow-in-the-dark nigiri by Bompas & Parr
The effect was created using a type of UV light

The effect was created by using black light, a type of UV light that emits ultraviolet radiation.

According to Bompas & Parr, around 15 per cent of all minerals are capable of emitting vivid colours when subjected to this light.

The phenomenon, called “electron displacement”, sees ultraviolet energy push certain atoms to higher orbits. The light effect is caused as they return to normal orbit.

Glow-in-the-dark maki by Bompas & Parr
The menu was developed using naturally bioluminescent ingredients

“The black light emits ultraviolet radiation, which excites atoms and causes them to release fluorescent light,” said Rian Coulter, senior account manager for Bompas & Parr.

“It only works with specific foods and/or the vitamin B2,” he told Dezeen. “Examples include tonic water, bananas, peppers and honey.”

Other food ingredients with natural luminescence include fish, mushrooms and shiso, a type of salad leaf.

Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi by Bompas & Parr
Foods containing high levels of vitamin B2 react to ultraviolet radiation

Bompas & Parr developed its menu using as many of these light-reactive ingredients as possible, then used food extracts and pigments to create more exaggerated effects.

“The menu endeavours to bring the wider themes of entertainment and indulgence together in the best spirit of food, community and creativity,” said studio co-founder Harry Parr.

“Now more than ever we’re ready to glow!” he added.

Bar and menu at Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi bar by Bompas & Parr
The pop-up bar was at Mother of the Nation festival in Abu Dhabi

Bompas & Parr specialises in creating designs and experiences that appeal to the senses, often including food.

Recent projects include the world’s lightest dessert, a non-melting ice lolly and a spa filled with unconventional healing rituals. The studio also teamed up with Dezeen on the Fountain Of Hygiene competition.

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