Like many restaurant enthusiasts, Ian Tran remembers his last restaurant dining experience, before confinement. It was a weekend brunch at Sydney’s Saint Peter, and the lemon pie in particular was outstanding.
Then COVID-19 came to strike. The Vivid festival has been canceled; The same goes for most of the work at his Rockdale Domus Vim laser cutting studio. (The studio typically provides a number of Vivid installation artists with construction and fabrication drawing services, and works with retailers throughout the year to produce shelves and displays.) The studio s t is focused on creating its own line of furniture and products, made from leftover parts. of acrylic accumulated over the years, to take care of.
To reproduce these dishes, Tran refers to his archive of photos, then draws each element of the dish – a bread stick here, a pineapple cube there – in architectural CAD software or Adobe Illustrator. The designs are scaled and laser cut onto a piece of colored plexiglass. The Perspex he uses is about three millimeters thick; to recreate the lemon pie for example, Tran produced several triangles out of yellow plexiglass, then stacked the shapes together to produce the body of the pie. More sculptural works, such as Belles Hot Chicken’s “Sex Panther” chicken, require a hair dryer or heat gun to shape the plexiglass. All the dishes are placed on a black acrylic plate which measures 30 centimeters in diameter. (Tran acknowledges that this web may present difficulties in the future. “You can’t make ramen on a plate,” he says.)
So far, Josh Niland of Saint Peter, Sam Young of Lotus and Mike Eggert of Tottis have requested the purchase of the works, and Tran is hoping Ester will be in touch. Before COVID, Tran visited Mat Lindsay’s Chippendale restaurant once a month and names it as her favorite place to dine in Sydney. “On Dinner A La Perspex, I’m just two people: me and Ester. He’s already cloned Ester’s “scarlet shrimp, crispy legs”. How much will he charge Lindsay, if the boss contacts him? “He can have it,” Tran said. “I’ll trade it for Ester Bread.”