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Library Lions Takes a Page From Venue With Paper Decor

By Michael O'Connell November 4, 2009, 12:18 PM EST

Recycled paper and living vines at Library Lions

Photo: BizBash

New York Public Library Lions Benefit
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A crowd of 500, including Billy Crudup, Leighton Meester, and Barbara Walters, arrived at the New York Public Library's annual Library Lions benefit on Monday night. When it was time for dinner, guests made their way into the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, where the recycled materials and living plants came together in the paper-inspired decor.

Under the direction of New York Public Library events coordinator Emily Neidhardt and its event team, designer David E. Monn reinvented the venue for the seventh year in a row. “I always try to find a route of some integrity to base every event on, and this year I kept thinking of the paper in all of the books,” said Monn. “When we sat down in the very begining [of planning], we wanted to be very careful about the tone and the message that was sent through the decor. It's always been beautiful, glamourous, and elegent, but I wanted it to maintain those elements without looking out of step with the times.”

So Monn made the decision to avoid cut flowers by incorporating living elements like ivy and grape vines. As for the rest of the materials—which made up the bulk of the decor—Monn turned to recycled papers. “I love paper,” Monn said. “It's something of a beauty challenge. How do we take each item and turn it into something else?”

Kraft paper, cardboard, and crepe paper were the building blocks of the decor, and Monn and his staff turned the raw materials into leaves, ribbons, tablecloths, place mats, and even plate covers. Every last scrap of the paper decor will be sent to recycling centers where it will all be turned into stationery. The plants will go back to Monn's greenhouse.

As in the past, Library Lions was immediately followed by the Young Lions party in the Celeste Bartos Forum. Some dinner guests joined the younger patrons while they danced to music spun by DJ Cassidy well into the night.

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