[sample] I’m striking while the iron is hot here because it was only last night that I was a guest of Origins and Somerset House to view the Mushroom exhibition at Somerset House and have dinner at Spring (I was expecting a heavy-on-the-mushroom culinary theme but thankfully it was more garnish than main event!).
Somerset House is spectacular with no lighting, let’s face it, but lit up Origins green against the black sky backdrop – wow.
The exhibition itself is small – only three rooms (and free by the way) – but the curation is a delight. There are so many cultural references that allow us to see just how big a part mushrooms and funghi plays in our lives – not just in our eco-system but in our kitchens, our art and our wellness. And have done so for literally ever. The curator has found beauties such as this original illustrated Alice In Wonderland book from 1922 and the sculptures below.
There is also a set of sketches by Cy Twombly – honestly the only pieces of work I have ever seen from that artist that aren’t a load of scribbles making me at best confused by the art world. As official beauty and wellness partners to the exhibition, there are mini facials to be had (tomorrow (Friday) and this weekend only) as part of the opening week but as you might expect there are some beautiful limited edition Origins collections at the gift shop with a strong emphasis on recycling and eco-friendly packaging – more on this in a moment.
I can’t not mention the mushroom themed gift shop – everything from Snoopy sweatshirts (with appropriate quotes) and mushroom jigsaws to this gorgeous little hand embroidered circlet and felted mushroom cushions. A perfect commercial illustration of how mushrooms find their way into our homes. So, back to the Origins Limited Edition collections for the exhibition.
Featuring illustrations by Alex Morrison (also some art within the exhibition) this particular set comes in a birch plywood box with the products inside held in place by fully recyclable hemp pith and mycelium (mushroom root) – the first time I’ve ever seen this kind of eco packaging. It will degrade within a month or so in your compost. You can take any of your Origins bottles back to counter and they’ll recycle it for you but if you are going to the exhibition, you can take any empty bottles of fragrance, skin care or cosmetics from any brand there and the Origins team will use their partnership with Wastecare to recycle it for you.
The set is quite pricey at £100 as actually, is the gift shop (HERE) in general but you can buy the limited edition Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion alone for £32. Neither are on-line yet but will be almost any minute at Origins and at Somerset House.
Actually, I met Dr Andrew Weil for the first time ever – he helped Origins formulate their Mega Mushroom line and is a world expert in integrative medicine …. and also one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met. His knowledge is jaw-dropping and he is straight on my fantasy dinner party list (do you have one? Who is on it?!) – I would bump everyone else off it for a few more words from him on the microbiome.
So there you have it – it’s such an enjoyable and surprising exhibition but it won’t take you very long to get around it so if you’re in London do go and have a quick look. You can find out more about it HERE.
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