Ukranian architect turned pastry maker Dinara Kasko is winning hearts and awards across the world for her awe-inspiring cakes and desserts that look more like tiny geometric sculptures rather than regular cake-shop takeaways.
One look at Dinara Kasko’s pastries and you have to try very hard to convince yourself that they don’t belong in a museum of contemporary art, because not only are they exquisite to behold, but are also exceptionally delicious! Speaking exclusively to Home Review, Dinara talks about her creations and how she came to be a pastry chef with such an edge.
After graduating from the Kharkov University Architecture School, Dinara worked with a Dutch-based designer-visualiser firm for a couple of years. It was while cooking a meal for her family that Dinara realised she wanted to work with desserts and pastries she confesses. “I never get tired of baking cakes,” she says. “It’s always interesting to me.” We all know the standard ingredients that go into baking – eggs, flour, sugar, milk. Depending on the quantity and ratio of each ingredient, the end result differs – it can be cakes, croissants, bread, shortbread, muffins, and so on. It is this feature of baking that fascinates Dinara the most.
Dinara’s geometrical and unconventional desserts are also inspired by her background as an architect and a 3D visualiser. Each dish begins to take shape at the stage of design development. Inspiration, unusual shapes, and Dinara’s own personal style are mixed together to create a final masterpiece that is reflective of her philosophy and ultimate aim of bringing architecture closer to design of the pastry she creates. “At the beginning, the irrational is born,” she says. “Then comes the shaping; I rationalise my object, and finally decide on assigning my own style to the final product. This is how the final concept is readied.”
She uses silicone molds made with Autodesk’s 3DMAX software to achieve this synergy. The molds are designed in 3DMAX and then printed on a 3D printer. Further, she combines this method with piping which is precise enough to allow her that finish in terms of clean lines and polished surfaces. “I have realised that appearance is just as important as taste,” she remarks. Two years ago when she had successfully created her first mold, for Dinara it was literally turning over a new leaf. “I dream of having my own business,” she adds, “with my own studio to bake in, where I could learn more and teach others too.”
Inspiration, Dinara believes, can come from anywhere. “It can be an object on the street, nature, architecture, an image of something, different shapes, etc.” The idea is to primarily connect architecture with pastry design. “A beautiful cake requires preliminary designing much like a beautiful building,” she adds. “It is necessary to harmonise the form, composition, volume, colour, texture and proportion.”
By putting to use typical geometric construction principles like the Voronoi diagram, triangulation, and biomimicry, Dinara makes her cakes look like geometric models of contemporary design and architecture. Of these, biomimicry is the most intriguing. It uses elements of nature, systems, models and macro elements in the process of design. This method also helps the designer, in this case the pastry chef, experiment with different shapes and patterns. “Triangulation,” Dinara adds, “is the partitioning of a geometric object into tetrahedrons. The Voronoi diagram uses a mathematical algorithm to partition a plane into smaller cells.”
At present, Dinara is collaborating with a world famous chocolaterie and chocolate brand. To help her on this project, a parametric designer has been roped in and together they not only design but also test out molds. Some of the molds take nearly three hours to make. By far, this has been Dinara’s most daunting project till date.
Dinara believes in creating unusual cakes, both good enough to eat and stare at, and the pleasure of photographing them is what inspires her the most! And we couldn’t agree more. Throughout the course of our lives, we come across different forms of art. But art that is both edible and beautiful to behold is quite the novelty. Dinara’s cakes are slices of just that novelty.
Text By Priyanka Menon
Photographs Courtesy Dinara Kasko