We are smitten with Tables for One, reviews of imaginary restaurants, dreamed up by designer Evan Johnston using the nom de plume A. Pontius. We are charmed by Salé, where “salt is nowhere to be found in the food, nor can you find it in a the familiar little container on the dining table. That’s because the dining table, and plates, and chairs, are actually made of salt itself.”
…and especially love Acoustia:
“We don’t serve food,” the chef and sound designer for Acoustia explained to a passerby who was baffled by the specials for the evening, “We serve sounds.”
Going to the site spurs our own fantasies of wonderfully eccentric restaurants designed to feed other senses.
But we were especially touched to discover how Tables for One came about, in an email from Johnston himself, a long time reader of ‘improvised life’. The subject line read ‘Inspiration and Improvisation – - Thank You’
I wanted to tell you about my own improvisation. I’m a writer, designer, occasional illustrator, and I hold a nice day job doing production work for some very lovely books. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s a good, varied life, but as with anything else, there are challenges. And one of those has been trying to find my own voice.
I was reading The New Yorker, looking at the restaurant review column, and thinking about how a review can be its own experience. Just as a writing exercise, I started writing a restaurant review for a place that didn’t exist. It was about a paragraph, I didn’t know what to do with it. But I knew that I was very comfortable recognizing them as an improvisation, because at this point I was reading your work and just getting used to the idea of simply trying different things.
Two months ago I was looking at them and realized that I wanted to create a little world for all of them, and so I began working on Tables for One – - it’s a parody of the New Yorker’s Tables for Two, but also just it’s own thing – - restaurant reviews from another New York City: www.tablesforone.com
Our hope was that regular reading of ‘the improvised life’ might actually orient one’s head to the idea of following uncharted paths and trying out ideas, to becoming comfortable with improvising. But we never dreamed of the kinds of creations, like Johnston’s imaginary restaurants, that it might encourage.
Thanks a million, Evan!