There’s a term in aesthetic theory: gesamtkunstwerk. It’s a German loanword that translates as “total work of art”, and – at the risk of over-simplifying things – refers to a unifying work of art that combines multiple disciplines or philosophies into a coherent whole. It’s not a term one often hears outside the art world, but if all intentions materialise for chef Ivan Brehm’s latest multi-concept space, Appetite, the unwieldy noun might be an apt way to define this project.
Saying “multi-concept space”, however, is the lazy way out. The 2,000 sq ft space is part restaurant and part art gallery with a listening room that houses a massive record collection. There are ticketed dinners that cost $350 per person as well as relatively affordable a la carte snacks and wines by the glass.
Anyone can come in to eat and drink, and enjoy and connect with the works, offering gallerists and artists a place where food is experienced in a setting that’s more accessible and comfortable than, say, a gallery or a museum.
A considerable roster has already been lined up to make sure the space is diverse. The idea is to keep drawing people, whether they are lawyers, accountants, artists or musicians, back to Appetite. Conversations might happen at a stairwell or over a particular record – and eventually, ideas are born in the space.
“We want the experience to be as close to a house party as we can,” says Ivan. This egalitarian vision might seem at odds with what is outwardly a spin-off of a fine dining restaurant. Still, the $350 dinners and bottles of 50-year-old single cask whisky help to pay for everything that makes the experience possible, including the gorgeous furnishing and sound system, a full-time curator and a music director. As with all art, good stuff happens at the points of tension – and hospitality is no exception. So, come and whet your mental and gastronomical appetite.