Dinara Kasko spent her entire adult life studying to be an architect. But when it came time for her to actually start designing buildings, something about it left her cold. So she improvised. Now, the 27-year-old Ukrainian applies the skills she learned at architecture school to patisserie, creating deliciously designed assemblages of pastry, frosting, and fondant.
Kasko says she's not entirely sure what inspired the career change. After graduating Kharkov University Architecture School, she bounced between design jobs, working as an architectural designer and then as a 3D visualizer for many years. But it didn't feel like a true passion. It was only when she started dabbling in pastry in her own small kitchen that Kasko realized she was lending her design talents to the wrong place.
"I liked what I was doing as an architect well enough, but I'm just much more interested in patisserie," she explains. "It just feels more like me." And just like in architecture, pastry making allows Kasko to explore a wide range of influences. "I get to use ideas from modern architecture, art, nature, and more."
Like Nendo, another design studio that has delved into sweets with its geometrically intricate boxes of chocolates, Kasko believes that the shape of a dessert actually influences its taste. "The appearance is as important as the taste," she says. So to create her pastries, Kasko starts on a computer, sketching her idea out three-dimensionally in Autodesk 3DSMax.
Drawing upon her experience with parametric design tools, Kasko's "recipes" often start with a mathematical algorithm, like a Voronoi diagram, to develop a visually interesting object or surface. From there, she 3D prints the silicone molds used for baking her cakes, then decorates them.
Right now, Kasko's sole audience for her desserts is a selection of friends, and her Instagram followers. She says her next step, though, is to open her own pastry shop. She also wants to imbue her work with even more architectural inspiration: Her short term goal, she says, is to make a cake that looks like the Sunwell Muse, the Tokyo building recently completed by architects Takato Tamagami and Tsutomu Hasegaw.
Another goal? Kasko says she might eventually like to open a pastry school, teaching some of her patisserie techniques. But that's not to say she thinks every pastry chef needs a background in architecture. "It's enough that we can all use and add something new to what we do from other arts," she says.