Interior Design

Dining By Design: Celebrate Spring for a Cause

Table by David Stark for Benjamin Moore

This is a guest post by Friends of Pfister community contributor, Brandon Smith of DCoop Media

I understand that it is still snowing in certain parts of the country, and that the rather famous groundhog was a bit overzealous in his announcing the end of winter.  Neither, however, are reasons we can’t begin celebrating the start of spring.

That is if you can find spring under all of that cold white stuff. 

With spring’s arrival also comes New York’s Dining by Design, an event benefiting DIFFA, the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.  In all, the event brings together artists, interior designers, product designers, and manufacturers to create tablescapes ranging from the bizarre and over the top to the subdued and stunningly elegant.  Over 40 tables were featured during this year’s event, held in conjunction with the Architectural Digest Home Show and many braved the flurries to ogle every last detail.

I, instead, picked them apart.  Like I do so many other things.  But never one to point out the negatives, I let the inner optimist in me pull together a few lessons that can be learned from this year’s settings.

Table by Mark Blackwell

Table by Mark Blackwell

Table by Mark Blackwell

One can never have too many place settings…
Once upon a time you weren’t cool unless everything in your home matched. And was covered in plastic.  But I digress.  Those rules no longer apply, and it’s ok to mix patterns, colors, and textures.  I’m giving you permission to snatch up random plates and store for a rainy day.  Don’t let your friends accuse you of being “matchy, matchy”.  Just one word of advice – there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding.  Just sayin’.

Table by Gensler for Herman Miller

Table by Gensler for Herman Miller

Table by Gensler for Herman Miller

All that glitters doesn’t have to be gold…
In this case it’s chocolate.  If there is one lesson to be learned it is that sparkle has staying power.  From polished flatware and spotless crystal to wall coverings of metallic purple kisses, choose elements that reflect the light and catch the eyes of your guests.  Not to mention, shiny objects are perfect for diners with ADD and the overly vocal baby.  Just please… avoid eating the wall.

Table by Elizabeth Bologino Interiors

Table by Elizabeth Bologino Interiors

It’s OK to be cotton in a world of silk…
Utter formality can be overrated.  Even the royals can be cheeky.  Change it up a notch and add personality to your table by embedding an element that isn’t necessarily like the rest.  Plastic flatware with bone china. Rubber placemats and crystal goblets.  Just please, don’t start singing “One of these things is not like the other….”

 

Table by David Stark for Benjamin Moore

Table by David Stark for Benjamin Moore

Don’t be afraid of a little color…
Or a lot of color, for that matter.  Heights, snakes and spiders all have one thing in common – there is the possibility that any one of them might actually kill you.  Color, on the other hand, won’t bite, make you fall, or won’t bite.  Wait.  I already said that.  Face yours fears and go crazy with color.  It will be ok.  I promise. And if in the rare case that you find yourself in the corner sucking your thumb in the fetal position, you can always go back to white.

Table by Design Within Reach

Table by Design Within Reach

Make certain to get your ducks in a row…
An element used singularly has the tendency to get lost in the overall scheme of a table.  Or stolen if your friends are kleptomaniacs.  In which case you may need to get new friends.  But repeating the same element across a tablescape can bring major drama to what could otherwise be a staid setting.

Table by Marimekko

Table by Marimekko

And when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, use rocks.
Setting a table doesn’t have to be difficult.  Even rockstar designers have their moments.  A put together tablescape doesn’t have to be fancy, overdressed, or even purchased (I’m not advocating shoplifting here people!).  Keep it simple, keep the focus on the cuisine and conversation, and remember: as long as the wine is good, your guests won’t remember if your table wasn’t perfect.

All images courtesy DCoopMedia and cannot be used without permission.

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