The majority of the team at Replica have been with owner and managing director Loraine Senior since the very early days of the business. As such, the firm now boasts a knowledgeable, highly skilled team who create unique food models and props for clients including Harrods Food Hall and Hampton Court Palace.
Two decades is a long time to spend every day thinking about food, never mind making it, but Replica’s journey is still far from complete. “You’d think that after a few years you would have made all the food you can think of but that’s where you’re wrong,” notes Senior.
Although Replica always has a vast selection of items in stock or ready to produce at short notice – using an arsenal of thousands of moulds – the majority of the company’s work is actually on bespoke food projects.
The team are constantly challenged by clients old and new to recreate food from bygone eras, often with only a recipe for reference. Working in this way makes for a very organic process; researching how original recipes would have been made and looked before making accurate replicas. Each stage is very hands on and every project has unique qualities.
Key to surviving and thriving for the past 20 years has been a team who are as passionate about food as they are experiential displays. “For us the most enjoyable projects are those in which we are involved in the whole process of bringing a space alive, and when we can use our skills to help create truly engaging environments,” Senior continues.
Everybody can relate to food; it provides a direct link to the senses and brings attractions alive for visitors. Replica food, be it large meat carcasses or tiny crayfish, helps build a picture of what kitchens, banquet halls and peasant dwellings would have looked like. It also offers up a sense of how it would feel to be in that place and time.
The company has spent the past two decades researching, experimenting, testing and developing new and innovative materials and methods for its craft. This enthusiasm, which has only been fuelled by the recent push for more interactive and engaging exhibits, results in the highest quality handmade food replicas.
Looking to the future, there is no slowing down for Replica. The immediate focus is on expanding the range of historic food and prop replicas available, much of which will be produced at a new permanent Buckinghamshire premises housing a brand new workshop.
Newly appointed business development director Christina Mellett will help oversee bespoke projects and expand the business across the heritage sector, as Replica embraces an increased focus on the individual stories of heritage sites across the world.
“We understand that every house, museum, hall or historic environment has its own story to tell and we will be working with each client to bring those stories to life with bespoke visual solutions resulting in impactful visitor experiences,’ Mellett notes.
The team plans to wholeheartedly bring its experience of global retail design and display to the heritage sector in the coming months, with food and period props just the beginning.