Last night, design industry experts, students from Parsons and FIT and charity-stalking socialites packed Pier 94 for a cocktail party to kickoff the 13th annual Dining by Design.
The event, running concurrently with and adjacent to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show challenges designers to create unique, thematic dining environments that must seat 10 while working within the medium of their respective sponsors. Animal-print carpet, for example, when used as a lamp, wall and floor covering, creates a cozy, highly textured space, while the same square footage seems more expansive and, well, bathroom-like when covered in reflective tiles.
From the extravagant (utilizing ornately patterned fabric, one installation hid each place setting in large jewelry boxes) to the quirky (a round table evoked the early days of communication by turning the table into a giant rotatory-dial telephone and assigning each plate a number, while out of the center of the table ceramic hands grasped at bits of the conversation floating away in comic book style dialog boxes) -- fittingly, across the room guests were invited to contribute to the live Twitter feed-- each space forced viewers to bend the strict rules of formal dining. A bale of hay makes a suitable chair when eating in a circus tent, while a slab of plywood serves as a makeshift plate if you happened to default on your loan before your home could finish being built.
Since 1984, DIFFA, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, has raised over $38 million dollars for direct care and preventative treatment of HIV/AIDS by pooling the diverse talent of the design industry -- from interior to fashion to consumer products. Up for auction this year are remnants from the Can It! initiative-- custom designed Vipp trash cans.
There are still two more opportunities to view the 32 Dining by Design installations and contribute to the cause. The Table Hop and Taste on Sunday is a casual browsing experience complimented by wine and food pairings. The Gala Dinner on Monday, hosted by Cindy Crawford and fellow model/husband Rande Gerber, will put the tables to the test, where, for the nice round number of $10,000, ten people can dine at the very tables being exhibited. Although it seems that some modifications may be in order to make the imaginary dining experience a practical one.
Buy tickets for either event here.