Get to know SqW:Lab 2024 fellow – today we speak to architect Tom Barton
Where can you be found?
Tell us about a creative action you have taken this week.
We have had to redesign a building as the money didn’t like the previous idea
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Home has many meanings, I still refer to my parents house in Chester as home. London is my home as much as my flat is my home. It’s familiar, family and safety. I’m also a house cat and I love to be home.
What was the last thing you cooked?
Lamb Birria tacos for a Christmas Day lunch to offset all the traditional flavours of the turkey dinner we’ll be eating later
Tell us about 2 of your most subtle influences.
Firstly Larousse gastronomic, the book has been personified and he’s a cantankerous influence that is educational and experimental, I find joy in working towards revealing the obscure outcome of these complicated and historical recipes. Second is hedonism, that’s always there to guide me towards excess. These two influences are in cahoots.
Please share your thoughts / a few words about your expectations of the project.
It will be my first time in India and my overriding curiosity is the cuisine; Growing up in the UK, Indian food plays a ritualistic role in our lives and so I’m intrigued to experience Mumbais food culture. Cooking Indian food is also a source of constant work for me, trying to master the techniques and ingredients to make something comparable to some of the restaurant food I’ve eaten in Britain. I would love to spend time cooking and learning techniques, histories and rituals around the food and I hope it’s wildly different to the British interpretation. I’m also intrigued by the rituals and processes in shopping for ingredients, I have a romantic vision of vibrant markets and hawkers selling wonderful produce! In architectural practice I’m interested in the role of our buildings as repositories of our culture and I work to uncover and tell these stories in my role as place-maker in a city that changes is constantly changing identity a fast-paced and fashion-focussed way. Cultural identity is formed around gathering and often-times eating and drinking and so I look forward to uncovering stories of people and places, past and present in Mumbai and rolling that experience into my everyday practice as an architect and a weekend chef.