Gastro Mapping Turns Dining into Art


One of the reasons I love the events industry is no matter how experienced you are, you’re always discovering something new. Sometimes that discovery comes in the form of a familiar technology you experience in a fresh context, as happened with me during a recent visit to the Frida Kahlo Retaurante in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

As the name suggests, Frida Kahlo Restaurante honors the memory of Frida Kahlo, the internationally celebrated Mexican painter whose work was highly influential. As you might expect, the menu features creative dishes with Kahlo’s artwork adorning the walls on multiple levels. What really sets apart the restaurant, however, is its use of projection mapping to turn dining into an interactive experience.

Projection mapping, or creating interactive displays out of common objects and surfaces, is familiar to anyone in the events industry, and its use in it of itself is not noteworthy. But the restaurant made me rethink the possibilities of projection mapping through an application known as gastro mapping. Through gastro mapping, an image is projected on the dining table to make the dining experience both immersive and artistic. The following amateur video from the Frida Kahlo Restaurante gives you a sense of gastro mapping in action:

In addition, one of the walls in the restaurant is mapped to make Frida Kahlo come alive. Throughout dinner, Kahlo’s likeness smiles and winks at you, with the flowers in her hair and make-up changing colors.

What makes gastro mapping feel fun and not gimmicky is the way the images add to your appreciation of Frida Kahlo’s personality and art. Plus, the visual presentation complements the way your food is unveiled. For example, when my colleagues and I dined at the restaurant, one of us ordered steak, which was presented to us in a clear container covered with smoke redolent of the wood in which the steak was cooked. The smoke from the meat burst out of the covering, heightening our senses.

Frida Kahlo Restaurante seems to be pioneering the use of gastro mapping (if you Google the term, the restaurant dominates the top results). But I suspect gastro mapping will become more widespread as the events industry seeks fresh ways to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. I can easily see the integration of gastro mapping with film, music and many other experiences.

Where have you been surprised lately to see a common technology used in a fresh way?

We Love Live. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing

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