anânâs means pineapplejuly 2020
by ZOË RAYN
Food is a universal language that accomplishes what words simply cannot.
Elena and Verónica are designers who believe in the construction of visual needs to satisfy a purpose. This belief, coupled with their joint love of food and all that a shared meal represents, creates the foundation for their new experiential studio.
Anânâs is the scientific word for Pineapple. It is used in all languages, with the exception of English. Creative dream team Elena Petrossian and Veronica Gonzalez adopted the term due to its universal use and relatively
complex chemical structure. At Anânâs Anânâs, food is considered a unifying factor, and always presented in a dynamic, challenging, and appealing way.
The two met through a mutual friend and immediately bonded over their shared passion for all things culinary. Los Angeles born Elena has a background in graphic design and art direction. Coming from an Armenian background, she was raised by women; homemakers that implemented a culture around the kitchen. As a child, she recalls having a set dinner time with her family every night. There, they created a safe space to delve into discussions and overcome obstacles together. Since then, sitting around the dinner table has made her feel safe to open up and be vulnerable. Verónica, an industrial designer with a North Mexican heritage, finds inspiration in the way food relates to our cultural and everyday journeys. Her work aims to communicate the rich history behind the craftspeople of Mexico and the preservation of traditional and handmade techniques. As a child, she was taught to see food as a way to bring people together.
Both creatives aim to curate an experimental space that brings together interesting strangers, delicious food, and a dreamlike atmosphere by way of their new project, Anânâs Anânâs: a studio focused on the ritual of eating. They strive to incorporate feelings of comfort and community, familiar with a family meal at home, while still providing new experiences, connections, and ways to eat. “Feasting has always been about the eyes”, Verónica says. Art, for many, is a natural way to cultivate engaging dialog with a viewer or audience. For Elena and Verónica, this has proved to be a vital component of their practice. A shared interest in romanticizing the act of eating, and allowing their audience to interact with food in a way that is multisensory - “For us, using food as a medium to get people together and to start a new conversation is one of the most human practices we could create.”
Creatives to their core, they take their own approach in the development of Ânânâs Ânânâs installations, explaining that “[We] have a wide variety of inspirational books and journals with ideas we jot down. The processes vary depending on if we are collaborating with a studio or doing our own thing. If we are collaborating, we try to design an idea that fits with the aesthetic values of the studio we are working with. If we are doing our own thing, we just think of the most outstanding ways we can present food, and test it out in our homes to ensure our idea can be executed.” With so much going into each event or project, Elena and Veronica have found themselves favoring certain parts of the process. For Elena, it’s cooking and assembling. “It’s also a funny and interesting experience having to create environments like an octopus garden or hanging fruits and cheese from trees,” she says, in reference to part of an installation created in collaboration with Kin Euphorics. Veronica, however, prefers the more conceptual phase of the design process, finding joy in rethinking the way people experience food through flavor, color, texture, and object; and how these factors harmonize to create a totally edible art installation.
Since launching their studio, they’ve been able to bring their vision to life for brands large and small. When they aren’t hosting lavishly approachable events, they’re planning for what's next to come. “[We’re] in the beginning stages of worki
ng with a few creative studios and galleries in Mexico and the US. We’re also teaming up with some of our favorite photographers in Mexico City; as we’re starting a project where we choose a few recipes from a cookbook once a month and present the dishes as art installations.” As experiential activations become more and more popular, there is an added layer of importance for small creative groups or studios to hold true to their intentions. “As Ânânâs Ânânâs grows a larger audience, [...] we have a very present responsibility to design installations that reevaluate the downfalls of our food production system and seek to come up with meaningful actions against food waste. Representing sustainability in a creative and innovative way that communicates to the masses.” In all that they create, Ânânâs Ânânâs makes very clear that food is a universal language that can accomplish what words simply cannot.