Dana-Farber Gala Takes Design Cues From New Cancer Care Center

By Stacy Horowitz September 26, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

Photo: Aviran Levy for BizBash

Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Spirited Affair
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The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute opened the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care in February, and the property inspired the look and feel of the institution's September 16 gala at the Cyclorama. When cooking up a design for the black-tie affair, “we were inspired by our initial tour of the new [center],” said PBD designer Bridget Deegan Fillippelli. Fillippelli helped Kimberly Chisholm, associate director of special events at the institute and the Jimmy Fund, with the planning process.

“The overall feelings of the [Yawkey Center] are tranquil, relaxing, welcoming, and … modern yet soft-feeling,” Fillippelli said. “We wanted to incorporate all those thoughts and feelings into the design of the event.” Playing off the center's rooftop Healing Garden, designers incorporated bamboo and leaves into bars and lounges in the cocktail area.

In a nod to the center's art gallery, images of individuals affected by cancer appeared on flowing drapes throughout the space. An art auction let patrons purchase raffle tickets for the chance to win a painting created especially for the occasion. Around 50 artists donated pieces to the auction and created their works on 12- by 12-inch canvases. Artists were asked to incorporate the words “color,” “comfort,” and “curves,” all inspired by the Yawkey Center, into their pieces.

“For the main portion of the night, we wanted to focus a little more on the innovative side of Dana-Farber … and the groundbreaking technology they can provide,” Fillippelli said. The center's Gene wall—a curved, illuminated fixture bearing colorful tributary plaques—inspired a curved wall, lit up in color-blocked lights, that surrounded the dinner area. To create an unexpected mix of textures, designers alternated round mirror with rectangular wooden tables.

The Catered Affair created a menu driven by comfort food. Stations offered macaroni and cheese with toppings such as truffle oil and Ritz cracker crumbs, small plates of items such as chicken potpie and lobster thermidor, and noodle soup in tea kettles.

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