FOOD + TECH
Berlin’s first interactive eatery Data Kitchen shows how digital eating can become a total work of art
As you enter Data Kitchen via one of Hackescher Markt’s rear courtyards in Berlin’s Mitte district, what immediately catches your eye is its impressive Food Wall, a state-of-the-art digitised vending machine made of 20 compartments. Fine cuisine from an automatic dispenser? Can it be true? Digital eating has gone from fantasy to reality. Today the whole process, from ordering to serving food, can be done digitally. The city’s new digital Slow Food restaurant is the brainchild of none other than Berlin’s cult restaurateur Heinz ‘Cookie’ Gindullis, a man who in recent years has become one of the hottest restaurant owners around with his famed establishments Cookies Cream, Chipps and Crackers. His latest concept restaurant was realised together with SAP, Europe’s largest software company. At Data Kitchen, guests order via app. The unique feature? Whether from home or the office, customers can choose their food and drink and pay on their smartphone all using the Data Kitchen app. As soon as the requested order time rolls around, diners head to the restaurant where they will see their name flash up on the Food Wall. Their order sits ready behind a compartment door, which is unlocked via the app. One of the screens opens and a freshly prepared meal, created under the supervision of head chef Alexander Brosin, is revealed. It isn’t surprising that Cookie teamed up with SAP to realise this innovative concept. After all, Berlin has evolved into a start-up magnet; even Google and Apple have opened offices here. And the Food Wall itself is truly exceptional: its 20 screens and compartments create a stunning data visualisation. A computer program takes anonymised order data and generates animated patterns that wind their way across the screens. The result is a digital artwork. The system was developed by international media festival Ars Electronica from Linz in co-operation with SAP. When discussing the collaboration, Kamila Joanna Laures, Media Relations Director at SAP SE, explains: “Media art is always looking for aesthetic and interactive ways to illustrate what is technically possible.”
© Data Kitchen
by Verena Dauerer
It’s also fitting that Data Kitchen’s opening in December practically coincided with a visit to the capital by the world’s first restaurant to serve 3D-printed food. Over four evenings, Food Ink conjured up 3D-printed culinary creations for guests at wearable agency ElektroCouture’s studio. Where else but in Berlin?