Teal Blast, Iguana Green
At the first Tate benefit in New York, guests and decor truly covered the spectrum
Craig Kellogg -- Interior Design, 7/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
How to amuse Annabelle Selldorf—plus Frank Stella, Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Mary Boone, Calvin Klein, Valentino, David Byrne, and Chelsea Clinton? A wildly eclectic guest list was only the first challenge when David Stark Design & Production tackled the inaugural Artists Dinner for the American Patrons of Tate, a charity that has raised in excess of $130 million for the Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London.
Organizers secured a part of the ticketing hall at New York's West Midtown Ferry Terminal by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates. Since they could not shut down the commuter terminal for the evening, deep-blue heavy velvet drapery sequestered the event from active ticket windows just feet away. To make the almost tunnellike proportions of the resulting party space feel even more dramatic, David Stark decided on a sinuous 144-foot-long installation. The morning of the event, assistants sat on the floor to wrap shamrock-green dupioni silk around the bases of tall steel frames that would undulate above the center row of tables. "As it assembles, it will look like something," Stark promised around noon, when curtains comprising 15,000 paint strips went onto the armatures. Where did he find so many? "We went to lots of different hardware stores to 'sample' blues, greens, and oranges," he admits. He based the palette on the museums' signature colors, while the underlying idea, he explains, paid homage to painting in general.
In the daytime, the strips looked like, well, bits of colored paper. But as dusk fell, theatrical projectors began to dapple them with fanciful kinetic patterns. Stark—who once decorated the historic Bowery Ballroom with a zillion beach balls—never doubted that the humble strips would shine in the right light.