Having had the honor of designing tables for NYDC in past year’s it was especially meaningful to be able to return to the DIFFA event to see this year’s addition of Dining by Design. For the past several years the New York installment of Dining by Design has occupied a significant amount of real estate adjacent to the Architectural Digest show at Pier 94. This year as in years past the design community has brought its best together to create a forest of dining delights. Spring came early to Pier 94. Alice would have felt at home in this Wonderland of toadstools, roses and marble chairs. I missed the architectural ingenuity of Lexus or the splashy entries of Disney and GE from years before but the intimacy of this year’s event was as mouth watering as ever. Here were a few of my favorite tables:
Jesgordon/Properfun is an event-planning firm and if their table is any indication you can see why they are so successful and worthy of a coffee table book. Their unique design is an eclectic mix of an antique table paired with 70’s spider bookcases and electric green Lucite placemats, surrounded by contemporary plastic chairs. But what makes the space is the lighting. Lit from above and below as well, everything seems to glow and sparkle as it illuminates the placemats and reflects off of the orange walls
The elegance of a New York supper club is re-imagined in Marc Blackwell’s dining experience. You can imagine Clark Gable leaning in to light Jean Harlow’s cigarette, her arm gently balanced in the soft crook of one of those sumptuous pillows. The marble backed chairs add a contemporary element. The stripes apparent in the wall treatment and on the top of the table repeat a theme drawn from his tabletop designs. Who wouldn’t want to lean back in one of those chairs and sip a martini while listening to Harry Conick Jr. crooning from the stage.
The dramatic quality of the “Angels in America” wings floating above Jeffery Brooks' elegant table were an iconic reminder of the real purpose of this event. The silver and white motif provides a richness to the space. The splash of purple is just enough color to make the space sing with sophistication. This was one of my favorite tables.
Vincent Wolfe’s over-the-top ode to spring was a so lush you couldn’t help but be impressed. It was like the Grand Marshall’s award winning float at the Rose Bowl parade. Vincent Wolfe is known for his polished surfaces and clean lines but here he shows how to do abundance, and do it well. The fiber lighting whips overhead in a swirl of cotton candy adding the right amount of whimsy to an already up-lifting space.
DIFFA Board of Trustees Chairman, David Rockwell, has ingeniously developed a way to float his tableware over a sea of red roses. Red permeates his table from the richness of the rug up through the chairs and onto the table with the delicate roses boldly supporting the red plates and crystal stemware. Only the green of the rose’s sepals provide any remembrance that the world might exist beyond the color red.
Eating Atop a Shyscraper, 1932