Behind the Scenes at Dining By Design
Take twenty or so top designers and architects, a handful of design students, and mix in a dash of drama, two dashes of competitive spirit, and an almost-anything-goes charge, combine with a worthy cause, and you wind up with a potent brew, even before the kick-off cocktail party. Such is the fourth iteration of Dining By Design, the annual fundraiser for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), being held at Pier 94 from March 18-22.
This year, for the first time, I had the privilege of working on a table being designed by Joan and Jayne Michaels of 2Michaels, and so got to observe the process of pulling together a designers’ extravaganza. The process involves…a lot of work. Everywhere I looked—when I had a chance to look around—I saw groups of people intensely focused on executing their respective visions. As the day progressed, a dizzying and chaotic jumble of building materials, furniture, A/V equipment, and dinnerware were dragged, hammered, hung, and massaged into place. As the tables and booths took shape, I took pictures.
Presented here, then, are works-in-progress by Disney—that would be the one with the mouse—Vicente Wolf, Rockwell Group, who channeled Breakfast at Tiffany’s, our friends James and Hayes Slade, who selvaged salvaged furniture, di Salvo Interiors, who I think produced the vivid red bordello booth, and David Beahm Design. Also pictured are student installations from the New York School of Interior Design—the perspective table with the origami decoration on top—and Parson’s, whose students were steadily if not frantically working after we left at 9:30 p.m.
And of course, there is our installation, which features the expanding softwall system by the Vancouver design group Molo, and a Pierre Chapo table and chairs graciously lent by Brooklyn-based Gueridon. The idea is that you’re eating inside a Japanese lantern, reinforced by the Japanese-lantern centerpiece and the lanterns on the floor. I don’t think it looks anything like an igloo, or the centerpiece like ice cubes, and I didn’t for a moment picture a state dinner in Juno. Nope, for me it’s a Japanese lantern all the way.
Dining by Design is open to the public all weekend, and revolves around two events: the Thursday night cocktail party and a gala dinner on Monday. For tickets or information, see diffa.org or call 212 727-3100.