Sunny Climes Inspire HBO’s Peachy Emmy Bash

The network’s after-party featured a pink and gold palate influenced by the sunny Cote d’Azur, the coral-colored environments of mid-century Palm Beach, and the shell-encrusted grottos of the Pitti Palace in Florence.

August 30, 2006, 12:00 AM EDT

HBO’s after-Emmy party featured a golden look inspired by sunny climes Palm Beach, Cote D’Azur, and Florence.

HBO’s Emmy after-party Pacific Design Center’s fountain plaza Sunday, 08.27.06, 8 PM to 1:30 AM
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New Emmy voting rules may have provoked some controversy, but at its lavish post-awards show party, HBO, always a big winner, unambiguously celebrated another change this year: the ceremony’s move from September to August. The cable network acknowledged the shift from the brink of fall to the waning days of summer by transforming the Pacific Design Center’s fountain plaza into a wonderland setting for what event designer Billy Butchkavitz called “an enchanted evening by the sea.” He added, “I got to have fun with it because it was in the summertime.”

Working with HBO vice president of special events Eileen Rivard, the globe-trotting Butchkavitz sought inspiration from three sources: the sunny Cote d’Azur, the coral-colored environments of mid-century Palm Beach, and the shell-encrusted grottos of the Pitti Palace in Florence. Using a palette of pink and gold, Butchkavitz designed a custom-made landscape, from pink carpeting emblazoned with starfish and coral to shell-encrusted tables and seating with coral-shaped and colored backs.

Shell-crusted boxes with Godiva chocolates sat on all the tables, which were square this year at HBO’s request. Butchkavitz decided to make everything else square too—the five 24-foot-high fountains constructed by Setmasters surrounded by water gardens with floating pink-and-gold dahlias, as well as the square cabanas draped with billowy, iridescent fabric enclosing square ottomans topped by custom-made square pedestal bowls inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Even the ashtrays were square.

To create the foundation for the V.I.P. area, which used 15,000 square feet of custom pink tenting, ECS, which also built the stage, constructed a floor over the plaza’s fountain. Flat, gold coral sculptures flanked the tent entrance and the buffet tables, which served Wolfgang Puck Catering’s menu inspired by the French Riviera: rack of lamb with black olive, feta and tomato orzo; stuffed crab in shell with herbs de Provence and lemon beurre blanc; and pommes Aligot with garlic, fontina, mozzarella, and contal cheeses. Bartenders served up “Riviera Royales”—coral-colored cocktails created for the evening (Belvedere vodka, strained lemonade, peach nectar, mango nectar, and a splash of grenadine, garnished with a fresh peach).

Guests danced throughout the evening to the music of percussionist Ravi Jakhotia and DJ Qool Marv. The event was supposed to shut down at 1 AM, but Emmy winner Jeremy Piven kept the party going by hopping onstage and playing the drums. The last of the 1,500 guests drifted off at 1:30 AM.

Irene Lacher

Posted 08.30.06

Photos: Gabor Ekecs

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