Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dining by Design - Boston

Part of my blog delay was the recovery from the Dining by Design Boston event last Friday & Saturday. Dining by Design is an annual fundraiser by DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids.) The event gathers amazing architects, interior designers, product designers and others in creative industries to design a dining space. They host a cocktail party and a gala dinner to show off the spaces and it is a tremendously interesting time.

My company does advertising. I work in the creative department. I was asked to shepherd the project 30 days before the event and we made it happen. Fine, wonderful, talented people committed to making something special happen. Something totally, insanely crazy, that they don't usually do. There was a huge "let's put on a show" aspect to building this room, but there was also a whole lot of "Trading Spaces" angst (and deadlines) along the way. My boss Heath designed a gorgeous space - he is a reformed architect, so he has the mad skills and fabulosity needed for an event of this type.

My friend Peter Riddle pulled the biggest rabbit out of his hat - his brother John Riddle of JJR Woodworking Design of Windham, New Hampshire. John created a brilliant set of flats that we assembled on site (a site as yet unseen on the first day we set to work.) My co-workers Julie and Joe were champions and fearless and full of the kind of "just do it" spirit I wish I found more often in young people. And older people.

The walls went up around and amidst a number of other people creating their spaces. And we built the space ourselves. Many other groups had millworkers and electricians and teams of designers and textile experts and people who do this for a living. But crackpots that we are - we did it ourselves. The walls went up, rather quickly due to John's expert direction and we painted as hard and as fast as I have ever painted. We needed the walls to dry so we could return the next day and apply wallpaper and "dress the set."

Julie and I were the wallpaper crew (adventure girls that we are) and when we opened the box of wallpaper we found:

1) the wrong wallpaper
2) wallpaper with edges that needed to be trimmed so the repeating pattern could line up
3) a repeating pattern that didn't actually line up
4) the ladder hadn't yet arrived (we used a chair) and,
5) it was like my second time hanging wallpaper - and the first time sucked badly.

At one point we were laughing so hard (high drama + lack of sleep = hysterical laughter) that I couldn't breathe. We had both arrived at the "Oh my God, this is how the Trading Spaces people feel when the clock is winding down and you are not even close to done." At least we didn't have Hildy Santo-Tomas snapping at us. And it wasn't tangerine with soup can wrappers decoupaged to the ceiling.

The answer to the concern about shoddy wallpaper application was every hostess' friend - low light. We knew the space would be dimly lit, and thank God for that.

Our boss Heath arrived with his amazing and talented wife Becky and the room was manhandled into shape. Winston Flowers sent a brilliant centerpiece (with my awesome creative brief: "tall, black, architectural, with some red...) Becky graciously allowed her fabulous chandelier to be used for the space, and on the spot flourishes "tied the whole room together." Special thanks to Be Our Guest rentals for kind assistance with linens and chairs.

On the whole, most of the people we worked with were kind and awesome and rolled with the insanity. (Not all, but since this was for charity - they shall remain nameless event planners.) The folks from the local beneficiary of the event CRI (Community Research Initiative of New England) were flat out delightful and helpful and awesome. Thank you Cary Raymond & Erin Molloy - I'm sorry I cried on the phone like 18 times. Me + wicked overtired is not pretty. (Oh yeah, on top of this event I was in the middle of planning a 16-vendor artisan event for the same day as the cocktail party, and preparing for my own show on 12/8 at the same time!) Wicked overtired.

I attended the cocktail preview with Peter and took a lot of photos (yes, some of them were under the influence of the new tequila brand I discovered at the party - so forgive the framing and the focus, it could have been worse - as in lots of photos of the floor.)

I put up a Flickr set HERE - take it easy on my, it was my first time building a room in two days.


Thinking In Vain said...

Your room looked fantastic!!

I would have never had the guts to volunteer for wallpapering. ;)

Moda di Magno said...

Thanks TIV! Low light is God's gift to bad painters, plasterers and drunken wallpaper hangers!

Peggy Bellar said...

What a fun thing to read your blog. Having moved the national sponsor tables around the country 8times, we at DIFFA can relate to the insanity that blossoms into sheer magic. Your table was lovely! Kudos to you!

Moda di Magno said...

Peggy - Thank you for the kind words! We had a great time creating the space (at one point blurting to some visiting media "we are only in advertising!" as justification for being so far behind some of the other tables. It was a treat to participate in DIFFA's amazing event!