This past Friday, I had the pleasure of taking part in Opal Collective's last Thai and Techno.
Thai and Techno is a seasonal food and music event featuring Thai Street food, Thai-inspired cocktails incredible desserts created by Mintaka Cake Design, and electronic music, directly along the Spree in Kreuzberg, Berlin at FluxBau.
The food, location, and vibe were all spot on. I found the Thai street food with an Australian twist, to be unique and mouth watering. My personal fav? The pad thai summer rolls. I mean seriously, who ever thought of wrapping up those delicious street noodles in a rice paper wrapper before?! Absolutely genius. And being able to sit by the waterfront on a warm summer evening with friends while enjoying good food and good music was the perfect cherry on top of a pretty chill evening.
It’s events like these that remind me why I am so blessed to be living in such a creative and inspiring city. Here’s to many more creative events this summer full of fun, music, and food.
I also got a chance to sit down and talk with Bianca, one of the creative minds behind Thai and Techno and Opal Collective to chat a bit about the event and Opal Collective:
LFB: Could you tell us a bit about Thai and Techno?
Bianca: Thai & Techno is a Friday night pop-up event that involves Thai food, deep techno and Thai inspired cocktails. The concept was to create a non-pretencious and inviting space for people to gather and socialise at, always with the intention of providing something unique but not overly fussy. The vibe is relaxed and the event caters to everyone- whether you are there for the drinks, the food or the dance floor.
LFB: How did you guys come up with the concept?
Bianca: Thai & Techno started as an idea that came up whilst at another pop up event in Berlin (NOT Hip Hop & Burgers!) in 2014. We noticed that there were a lot of events happening at the time, but nothing that catered to Kim and my two passions: Thai food and deep techno.
Coming from a hospitality background, I felt that most events in Berlin always seemed to miss the mark and I wanted to create an opportunity for myself and likeminded creatives to produce something we all felt proud of and could share with the rest of the city. The concept of Thai & Techno has developed rather organically and has been heavily shaped by everyone involved, from the main organisers, to friends, to collaborators and to the guests.
LFB: Thai and Techno is an event put on by your collective, Opal. Could you please tell LFB readers a bit more about Opal – the concept behind Opal? how you guys got started, how many of you there are behind the collective, etc?
Bianca: Berlin is overflowing with creativity and community, this is the crux of what formed Opal Collective. Therefore, it was only natural that the emergence of this group was derived from friends, old colleagues and recommendations. At every turn in this city, one will always find collaborators and numerous opportunities to create something unique and exciting.
Once the core group was formed, we realised that we shared many of the same passions and not only wanted to produce Thai & Techno, but other concepts that explored additional areas of interest further… For example, Patterns of Perception – where the primary focus is on the music.
Opal Collective consists of six core members: Myself – photography and hospitality background, Christoph – photography and design background, Danée – PR and food industry background, Kim – business and music background, Steve – design and music background and Ray – design and music background. This collective is not restricted to the six of us however, we heavily rely on friends and colleagues in our network to bring our concepts into fruition.
For example, Sandra Nielsen – she’s half Thai and half Swedish with a strong background in cooking Thai cuisine, together we have worked on every Thai & Techno event and to do it without her would literally be impossible. We always fly her down from Malmö and spend the whole week before the event preparing.
Then there’s also Andreas Maan – who has been an integral part of our second concept, Patterns of Perception. He’s a walking dictionary and creates the cleverly worded copy for all our club events and is also one of the resident djs.
LFB: You guys seem to be a very multi-cultural bunch. Where are you all from and what brought you all together? What role does diversity play in your collective, and what is it like to be a primarily english-speaking organization in Berlin? Are there ever any hurdles?
Bianca: The collective consists of Australians (from Sydney and Melbourne), one Swede and one German. Berlin is what has brought us together, this multi-cultural melting pot uses community as the common denominator and anyone who lives here will understand this.
Diversity naturally plays a large roll in the way we work and produce, which is fantastic but sometimes also challenging. It’s amazing to see things from various viewpoints but trying to satisfy all opinions and judgments can be time-consuming. In terms of speaking English, well as most of us are native English speakers this is easy for us! But it does get difficult when needing to organise and communicate with German third parties, that’s why we have Christoph ;)
LFB: Could you tell LFB readers a bit about how conscious living plays a role in what you guys do at Opal as well as how you guys put Thai and Techno together? (maybe something about slow food, environmentalism when planning events, fresh/local ingredients, etc)
Bianca: Conscious living and mindfulness are two topics that seem to be gaining more and more interest and credibility in our society. Gone are the days where the words green, sustainability and flat hierarchies are used as a persuasive measure to lure consumers and workers into thinking that you are a “good” operator.
At Opal Collective, our goal isn’t to make money. It’s to create a platform where we can share ideas, express ourselves and create something together. Therefore, listening to each other and making synonymous decisions together helps to create a sense of community and harmony, working against typical corporate norms.
In terms of sustainability, we try to use locally sourced products and eco-friendly materials where possible. I am personally troubled by how much we rely on imported goods and would love to work on a project that focuses on minimising this. This feels like phase two or three… or five!
LFB: So sad to hear that this is the last Thai and Techno event taking place, as it was so much fun! Why was this the last event, and what are the future plans for other events?
Bianca: Thai & Techno was always meant to be a temporary series and we were really happy with what we had accomplished. Now we want to focus on new horizons and explore new territory, which we want to share with the rest of our followers. Right now we are working on our latest concept, Patterns of Perception, which is a new club experience with a strong focus on the musical programming.
We want to showcase a side of techno that some people might not be used to when they go out in Berlin. Not because we want to be different, but because we like it. Techno doesn’t always have to be monotonous and fast faced, it can be melodic, hypnotic and transportive. Hopefully after the next few events, our guests will understand how and why we curate the music the way we do.
LFB: Anything else that you would like to tell the LFB community?
Bianca: We just hope that everyone enjoys our events as much as we enjoy putting them on!
LFB always discloses all partnerships. Thank you so much to Opal Collective for the opportunity to take part in Thai and Techno and to indulge in music, delicious Thai food and drink! It’s partnerships like this that allow LFB to bring incredible adventures and experiences to the LFB community. (I was not paid for this or any other post.)
Photography: Rae Tashman