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GQ Awards Get Manly, Inviting Decor

October 22, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

GQ Men of Year awards event Hammerstein Ballroom Thursday, 10.17.02, 5:30 PM to 1:30 AM
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Gusting winds and soaking rain dampened the air—but not the mood—surrounding the Manhattan Center as GQ magazine hosted its annual Men of the Year awards celebration. From the moment the 1,300 guests arrived on the venue's block of 34th Street, the scene was spectacular: Event production company EventQuest worked with Gisela Stromeyer Designs to drape spandex from the center's seventh floor down over the marquee to the entrance, where the fabric moved inward and through the building's entrance to form a tunnel that led inside to the event. Lights positioned across the street at the Loews movie theater projected vibrant, changing colors and the GQ logo onto the fabric. “The whole inspiration was to create a vortex of design,” EventQuest creative director Mark Veeder told us. “We wanted to suck people into the room.”

Once inside the Hammerstein Ballroom—and past a red carpet custom printed with the GQ logo by Durkan Patterned Carpet—guests lounged in the bar area on giant, white circular ottomans with black throw pillows on white rugs while back-lit, glass-paneled screens showed the magazine's silver award, which is shaped like a male torso.

Later, a sit-down dinner for 600 on the main floor (additional guests sat in the balcony) provided an elegant, yet masculine backdrop for the post-dinner awards ceremony. Silver tablecloths held simple, white and frosted glass place settings, leaving EventQuest's beautiful, unique centerpieces as the focal points for each table. Metal and wood veneer sculptures held bouquets of red, yellow and orange roses and a variety of unusual plants that looked like a cross between an artichoke and a cactus.

Caterer Taste's dinner began with a lobster martini salad (juniper- and saffron-scented lobster tossed with heirloom tomatoes with a lemon twist) and moved on to a rack of lamb with gremolata crust and a natural reduction. It was served with polenta with roasted sweet garlic and fresh corn, and fall vegetable bundles tied with scallions.

After the awards ceremony, the guests moved upstairs to an after-party in the center's grand ballroom, where more spandex created a cone that rose from behind an illuminated glass bar like a tornado across the ceiling of the room. The furniture—black and stainless steel futon-style sofas and chaise lounges dotted with Peruvian lambskin-covered throws and pillows—was as comfortable and inviting as it was dark and masculine, evoking the look and feel of an upscale bachelor pad. Stainless steel end tables, burnt-orange velvet cubes, gigantic curved metal lamps, and huge, square, black leather-covered ottomans with throw pillows completed the look.

Taste's eight different kinds of sweets (including homemade chocolate mint marshmallows, sweet corn and fig cakes and blood orange curd and berry tartlets) served as dessert, and for entertainment, the British girl group Bond performed two songs while aerialists from Elizabeth Streb's dance troupe swung in the air and onstage.

Erika Rasmusson

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