Diffa Dishes Out Natural Designs

While the annual tabletop design showcase featured the expected sleek, industrial environments (and traditional looks, as well), nature was a widespread influence.

February 28, 2007, 12:00 AM EST

Photo: Andrew Bicknell for BiZBash

Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS' Dining by Design benefit
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Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS’ dizzying display of inspiring tabletops, designed by top names in the worlds of interior and event design, architecture, fashion, and other creative arenas, filled the cavernous hallway of the Waterfront last weekend. This year marked the Dining by Design fund-raiser’s 10th anniversary and its second appearance in this venue.

Allotted a 10- by 12-foot area in which to create a dining space, designers filled the event with an array of modern, feminine, masculine, traditional, wacky, introspective, earthy, playful, worldly, and elegant environments. This is a peek at just some of things we saw this year. (We’ll bring you a larger array of photos and details soon.)

Woodsy scenes cropped up in a bunch of places, as lodge, camp, and forest settings. There were references to the beach and the sea, and a dining room that captured the feel of a backyard. Herbs popped up as live centerpieces, and in jars as part of a laboratory-like display. There were flowers throughout the event, of course, but succulents proved to be very popular, showing up in the center of a sleek table with a square pool of water, mixed with woodland florals, and grouped in wooden baskets. We noticed a preponderance of mirrors and mirrored surfaces, and stately interpretations of salon walls, stacked with paintings, empty frames, and more mirrors. Some tables also made references—both directly and indirectly—to AIDS, whether it was messages of hope or exclamations of urgency.

David Sheppard, Diffa’s executive director, oversaw the event, along with Steven Williams, the organization’s special events manager, and Peggy Bellar, special events consultant. With Elle Decor and GE Monogram as the top sponsors, the three-day event incorporated two days of public viewings (with tasty offerings from restaurants such as Blue Smoke, Frederick’s, Buddakan, and Country as part of the first-ever Table-Hop & Taste program) over the weekend, a Saturday-evening cocktail party, and Monday night’s Dining by Design gala, where guests sat at the tables for dinner, prepared this year by Hudson Yards Catering. The entire weekend of events netted $800,000 for Diffa. —Lisa Cericola & Mark Mavrigian

Posted 02.28.07

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