November 04, 2006
Dining by Design
A new friend of mine was involved with San Francisco's Dining by Design, an annual event to raise money for AIDS. It is co-sponsored by Elle Decor and Design Industries Foundation (DIFFA), held in San Francisco's SOMA, an area that continues to flourish for design, arts, and architecture.
DIFFA is one of the oldest and largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the U.S. and has tapped into the immense resources of the design communities to provide over $35 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide.
I attended this fabulous fundraising gala this past week, which showcases the creativity of some of the Bay Area’s most inspired designers. Each designer is assigned an 11' by 11' space to create a masterpiece table which can seat ten people for dinner.
My new friend, who has been involved in the design industry for years but who is more of a 'business organizer' than a designer, admits that it gets a little cat-like as the event closes in. At noon on the day of the event, a friend from New York (also in the biz), called to see "how things were going." I can't imagine the pressure if it were my own creation and time was ticking away, however I couldn't help thinking - Project Runway anyone?
It was noon and the place had barely been set or decorated. He said, "there's about 200 queens on walkie talkies worried about broken glasses and fighting for prime space." "Excellent, so, everything is on schedule then," his friend responded. He smiled when he said it and winked playfully. Energized (for how could you not be when you see the final result), he continues the story of set-up, every step of the way until it final completion, including the the fine details, like the champagne and Elle Decor giveaway bags.
Alison and Renee hamming it up
He reminded me that only the highest maintenance designers could produce results as exquisite as this. Meaning? Second place is not an option. I get that. Take a look at some of their designs. Each setting demanded excellence and their creations, each one of them, provoked you to go beyond the food and the wine, made you imagine, "what conversation 'could' happen at this table versus that one?
A round-up of some of the fabulous set-ups below. Which one is your favorite?
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