By Susan O'Neill Posted February 9, 2009, 9:00 AM EST
TORONTO For the opening night party of the 11th annual Interior Design Show, held Thursday at the Direct Energy Centre, organizers chose caterers who presented food as theatre in an effort to entertain guests at the event, which adopted an “aMUSE” theme this year. “The whole evening is certainly food and drink centric,” said event producer Marion Heintzman of Heintzman Productions. “We decided to present food as theatre so everything around the preparation and serving becomes theatre. It’s all about the visual.”
Servers on scooters delivered boxes of pizza to two Autogrill food stations; staff from Rodney’s Oyster House shucked oysters; Edo offered handmade sushi to attendees; and Peller Estates made pink icewine candy. Bartenders from Bartender One entertained guests while making drinks at a large bar located in the main aisle, and a girl dressed in white chipped away at a block of ice that encased a bottle of Belvedere Vodka on the Krups stage.
“For us it was really important to make the food part of the experience and part of the entertainment,” said IDS cofounder Shauna Levy, who reported that organizers sold 5,000 tickets for the opening night party—which included a V.I.P. area sponsored by Grand Marnier. The roped-off room, dressed in red and black decor, featured elaborate buffet stations offering cheese and fruit, and oversize floral arrangements with white flowers, oranges, and large bottles of the liqueur in the vases.
Levy said although the number of exhibitors remained at 300 this year, the biggest change is in the experience the show offers. “That’s what is different year to year...I go to Milan every year in April. For me that’s my big moment for how the programming should fall into place,” she said, noting that the decision to present the Crystal Clear exhibit was inspired by Swarovski's Crystal Palace exhibit in Milan.
Six Canadian design teams created installations using Swarovski Elements and Strass Swarovski Crystals for the Crystal Clear exhibit, which filled the centre aisle. The exhibit also inspired the decor throughout the show floor, supplied by Contemporary Furniture Rentals. “Because one of the show sponsors is Swarovski, we went with black, silver, grey, and crystals,” Heintzman said of the furnishings in the lounge area near the main stage.