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Monday
Apr202015

DIFFA Dining By Design 2015

DIFFA Dining By Design 2015:

The 2015 DIFFA dining tables & spaces were an inspiring bunch as usual & I finally made time to post some photos. This year felt big since they’re celebrating their 30th year of making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hats off to a charitable, stylish group of talented people!

There was something special in all the table & room designs. I could imagine a unique dinner experience at each one, complete with a fantasy guest list, menu & soundtrack that seemed to match the look. I noticed a lot of green schemes overall – but maybe I was simply drawn to those after a long & dreary NYC Winter. Anyway, here are a few designs that would have me booking a reservation…

Everyone must feel like a star in the glamorous, green & gold room below where the backdrop photo of an opera house audience suggests the meal will occur on stage! Dozens of lush, green cymbidium orchids fill the centerpiece while the wavy gold wiring between them echoes the eye-catching, metal chair frames. Marks & Frantz for the NYDC goes all out as usual with a mirrored ceiling, taxidermy peacocks, super graphic walls & floors, and a retro starburst chandelier (Photo by AD as mine didn’t do it justice). Fabulous...

 

I was intrigued by Perkins + Will’s offbeat approach to materials, with long swathes of torn paper undulating overhead, piles of origami-inspired fold-ups filling the table, and more layered sheets underfoot. Sculptural table bases super-sized the concept and even the bench upholstery fabric mimicked the shapes. Paper may never have looked so hip...

It’s bright orange. All of it. It’s stark & bold. And that’s exactly what’s so interesting. Every single surface is covered in nearly-indestructible Bolon outdoor material and VIIIR has kept all the angles straight. You might not want this look or seating arrangement for everyday, but it sure is full of wonderful drama for a festive fundraiser...

 

I love the playfully disorienting, reflective, gold-paneled walls. It says disco and present day all at once. The graphic floor treatment Antonino Buzzetta chose adds to the optical illusion and the black Ghost Chairs look extra slick all awash in bouncing light. Topping it off, the Michael C. Fina table settings are decadently graceful. Let’s party...

 

Calvin Klein Home really wrote the book on distilling things down to their most understated, honest, modern beauty. From the perfect, wooden block stools to the beautifully marbled table top to the quiet table settings, white walls, and full moon above it all, they create a room that whispers confidently while others shout...

 

I’ve been even more obsessed with Japanese style since an inspiring trip there last year during the annual cherry blossom blooms. For me, these next two rooms capture the very different feelings of their biggest city and their countryside stops, respectively.

This precise, all-white space with an illuminated table, architectural framing & benches, and clear acrylic, divided dinner boxes seems right out of a 47th floor Tokyo hot spot. Each guest has his own, glass-encased, decorative branch and a furry napkin ring, along with clear chopsticks. It’s cool, futuristic chic. It looks like the students at NYSID had some fun with sociology on this one and they had a great mentor in Brad Ford...

As with many things Japanese, the details here reveal themselves only if you stop to look closely...

This welcoming, woodsy, brown space by Kitty Hawks & Spin Ceramics is anchored by a gorgeous, live edge wood dining table and striking Nakashima chairs. The unexpected, red wineglasses pick up on the wabi sabi red glaze around the edges of the handmade plates & bowls, likely a nod to DIFFA. The textured wall covering, wild flowers in sake bottles, and organic branch & paper lantern chandelier add to the carefully hand-crafted, more traditional feel...

Gensler + 3Form played with Philip Johnson’s ideas by enclosing their outdoors-y table in a glass box and using a sunset photo of his Glass House as a backdrop…perhaps it's just across the lawn. I imagine an après-tennis brunch happening here under blue skies. The white Bertoia chairs and sage green Russell Wright dinnerware seem right at home, indoors or out...

 

I’ll admit I was probably drawn to the sunny, waterside setting of Hickory Chair’s space, but the over-sized leaf wallpaper, classically tailored seating and funky, dark lighting fixtures kept me there. The subtle color palette and more relaxed styling were also a refreshing take on effortlessly chic entertaining...

 

With the Kentucky Derby just two weeks away, I for one have ponies on the brain. Hermes doesn’t disappoint with this colorful, feminine table dominated by a huge, richly detailed artwork of a horse, flanked by illuminated, ikat wall panels. The light purple runner seems subtly regal while touches of gold and hot pink flowers round out the ornate and always lovely table settings...

 

And lastly, who could miss Casali’s boldly-patterned, mod statement room below? I love how the overhead light casts another layer of the mesh-y look on the white chair seats below and even the floor. Continuing the seamless concept, I noticed a couple of its designers walk by dressed head to toe in fabrics with the same pattern! Thank you to Mac Stora, Tonom, Mohawk Group, Ghelamco & Artemide for that...

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