Friday, April 6, 2012


For the past couple of years the New York Dining by Design event for DIFFA has paired up with Architectural Digest, a major sponsor of their charity, to share Pier 94 on the Hudson River where the Architectural Digest Home Show is held. You only buy one ticket and that gets you into both shows. The Dining by Design charity has grown over the years as a major fundraiser for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. They have raised over $40 million for distribution to various AIDS organizations nationwide. The Dining by Design event has now been franchised to eight additional cities.
It is one of DIFFA's most successful fundraisers where designers create fantasy tables for ten to twenty guests. The money comes from an opening cocktail party, three days of open viewing by the public and a final night fete where invited diners are served a mouth-watering gourmet meal at some of the most outrageously gorgeous private tables available in a city whose penchant for artistry is rarely treated so finely .
Here are a few of my favorite tables.
JesGordon of properFun, an event planning firm, designed a table that was beyond properFun. It was decadentFun. Like a bowl of jellybeans color was splashed from the ceiling, spilled down the walls and then melted into liquid stripes on the floor. If your professional task is making wallflowers dance on the table, and if your company can bring this kind of design to your event then I'd say they are the people you want hanging your mirror ball. 
At times the message can get lost at an event like Dining by Design but the guys at Dufner Heighes kept the message right out front. Marriage equality was their theme. The day I toured the event they were in the middle of a photo shoot. Two boys dressed in tuxedos perched on top of the table. The back wall filled with snapshots of happy couples celebrating their ability to have come out from behind the curtain and officially and legally announce their once forbidden love.
Have you ever had that sensation of walking up to a department store window display and misjudging where the plate glass was? One summer night I banged my head into Macy's Herald Square's front window hard enough to draw a huge welt to my forehead and loud enough to draw the stares of a group of tourists from Japan. I was lucky I didn't set off the security alarm.  Looking at the table by Aly Tayar and the Jones Falls Furniture Co. had the same effect. There's a fine line between the three-dimensionality of the table and the two-dimensionality of the optical allusion of the backdrop. If you stood there having downed several glasses of wine and looked at the setting long enough you'd start spinning as if you were in a M. C. Escher etching not knowing where the ground was or if you were standing up or lying down.
Ralph Lauren has always been known for his romantic bent; rich woods, a crackling fire, a chalet near Breckenridge. His table at Dining by Design was sheer Ralph. You could identify it from across the room. His ability to make you feel at home in the midst of such opulence is a real talent. It's become almost a formula for the Ralph Lauren crew but formula or not the end result is predictable perfection.
My favorite table was Benjamin Moore's ode to literature designed by David Stark. My photos don't do the table justice, but who better to tackle color than Benjamin Moore? The walls were lined with books. The table was made from books. Each book's spine read like a novel with the intriguing titles of Approaching Storm, Peruvian Chill and Ilianna, all colors in the Benjamin Moore lexicon.
The centerpiece of the long table had various books open with cut-out stories of mad teapots and jungle giraffes popping out to the diner's delight. On the back of each chair was shawl dyed to a Benjamin Moore color. Forget about dinner. I'd just want to wrap up in a shawl with a color book in my hands reading a story about a gramophone that could change musical notes into multi-colored sunsets. 
Having been a part of the process for several years running we know the joy of being given the opportunity to create total fantasy and the humbling sensation of knowing you've also done a good deed.

Since becoming a member of the Access to Design team at the New York Design Center we've been taking a more comprehensive look at the showrooms at 200 Lex. Periodically we'll be highlighting one of the showrooms and trying to give a feel for the products and designers they carry. This week we're taking a tour of Global Views. Begun fifteen years ago and headquartered in Dallas, Texas this is a showroom whose product has always impressed us. They are a relative newbie to 200 Lex but a welcome one.
Their product line stretches into the furniture and lighting area but their strength is in the arena of accessories. If you're unfamiliar with the line walk into your favorite high-end retail gift store, like say Pleasant Living, and turn over your favorite items. I'll bet you nine to ten you'll find a Global Views label within your first three tries.
One of our favorite designers, Barbara Barry, has designed a line of boxes, desk pieces and these beautiful glass orbs for the Global Views collection. We'll be highlighting the Barbara Barry desk set in an upcoming ad in Madison Magazine.
Cerused oak has been a beautiful new introduction into their current offerings and this side table is an amazing example of their cerusing paried with their impeccable design.
Tangerine was selected as the color of the season and here at Global Views they've shown that they don't ignore the trends. From the interior finish on this secretary to the vases throughout the showroom, tangerine has been splashed on almost everything they offer.
The target market here is more the boutique merchants or upper-level department stores which works fine for us, but if you're a designer or architect looking for those finishing touches you're not out of luck. Donna and Chris will work with you as well showing their hidden favorites tucked in among the laden shelves.
Don't forget to grab a sweet treat on your way out. 

The Egg
Michael Garlington, Photographer
Represented by Gallery 291, NYC

1 comment:

  1. Love that jar of orange candy; perfect way to add the new color without having to paint!