Domino Launches With Bright Branding Ideas

Condé Nast's new home decor shopping magazine debuted with lots of merch and much fanfare.

April 20, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT

At the launch event for Domino magazine, John D. Taylor created chairs and tables branded with the cover of the debut issue; they dotted Skylight Studios.

Domino magazine launch event Skylight Studios Tuesday, 04.12.05, 7 PM to 10 PM
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It was a good week for Condé Nast: Its old magazine, Glamour, won a National Magazine award with much fanfare in Midtown; and its new magazine, Domino—the home furnishings cousin of shopping magazine Lucky—debuted with much fanfare in TriBeCa.

In fact, guests were so eager to get into the party, a substantial crowd had formed in front of Skylight's tented entry at 6:50 PM, 10 minutes before the invitation's call time. (The scene was slightly reminiscent of another recent magazine party held at Skylight: that of the now-defunct Suede. We can only hope that the location isn't bad luck for publishing newbies.) Once guests were allowed inside, walking down a (surprise!) black and white carpet, they were like kids in a—well, it wasn' t a candy store, exactly—more like a home furnishings store.

Guests walked into a raw space filled with multiple living room vignettes, each decorated with chic accessories and enviable furniture. And the Domino-branded price tags that dangled from each piece—$51 for throw pillows from the Silk Trading Company; $520 for a Kohler toilet—only emphasized the fact that, above all else, this is a shopping mag.

“We wanted our guests to experience Domino style and a taste of what the magazine is all about,” said Terri Smith, Domino's special events director. “We went to hundreds of companies and asked them for products we could use to style the space—from low-priced side tables to high-end chandeliers and everything in between. And every item was tagged, so [guests] could see who made it, how much it was, and where they could find it.”

The whole “bringing the pages of the magazine to life” concept isn't new—but it worked especially well in Domino's case. “We do a lot of magazine event work, and that concept is very seldom accomplished as well as it was done here,” said Kingdom Entertainment Group's Chip Quigley, who produced the event with partner Elissa Kazdin. Quigley and Kazdin worked with Smith and a team of Domino editors to conceptualize the event. They had help from a small army of event specialists, stylists, and vendors—including Aparat's Olga Naiman, who handled the creative direction, production supervisor Mark Friedman, and logistics coordinator Shanti Stone.

After browsing past the furniture, guests shopped for real at a silent auction. Some guests ventured into the backyard for a smoke break inside a 2,000-square-foot replica of an English garden—a nod to Domino's gardening coverage—complete with sod and boxwood hedges and topiaries, created by Susan Edgar. The set-up of this tented area even encouraged guests to smoke—illegally, as Condé Nast did at the launch of Domino sibling Cargo—with Domino-branded matches and sand-filled tumblers to serve as ashtrays sitting next to votive candles. (Smoking at events seems to have made a strong comeback—perhaps it's the nice weather?)

A huge, horseshoe-shaped bar, custom designed by Showorkz to look like it was wrapped with lace, offered plenty of room for guests to get drinks. Great Performances dressed caterwaiters in long-sleeve black T-shirts with a green Domino logo (the black-and-white theme was an obvious choice given the mag's name; the green was a fresh accent) and served butlered hors d'oeuvres on white ceramic platters. (Black lacquer trays were used for clearing.) Among the choices: lobster and cucumber-wrapped Asian pear, ginger shrimp, potato pancakes with applesauce and crème fraiche, and fig pizza with duck prosciutto and mascarpone. Later in the evening, they switched to desserts of miniature no-bake pies—an idea borrowed directly from the desserts featured in the magazine's entertaining section.

Erika Rasmusson Janes

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