Using only ingredients sourced from the forests, fields, and waters of the Nordic countries, René Redzepi invented a regional cuisine whose celebration of the local has found a global audience. This year Time magazine named the 34-year-old chef as one of its 100 most influential people, and his Copenhagen restaurant, Noma, was voted Restaurant magazine's best in the world for the third time.
Noma's food is equally strange and sophisticated, earthy and precise—qualities echoed in the design of its new culinary laboratory, the FoodLab. The test kitchen, once in a nearby houseboat, has been relocated to the space above the wharfside restaurant to act as an engine of inspiration. For the interior, Redzepi turned to the architecture firm 3XN, whose office faces Noma across a small harbor. The connection between the two goes beyond mere proximity, however. Kasper Guldager Jørgensen leads 3XN's in-house research-and-development unit, GXN, and made contact with Redzepi after seeing him on TV. The architect was struck by the similarity of their positions: Both lead young, international teams focused on aesthetic and technical innovation. While Noma's chefs draw flavor from bitter roots and unripe fruit, GXN's architects and engineers develop biocomposite cladding and microperforated sunscreens.