U.S. Chamber of Commerce Gets Wintry Ski Lodge Treatment for Holiday Parties

By Walter Nicholls December 21, 2009, 9:00 AM EST

Hargrove's holiday party decor at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Photo: Juan Carlos Briceno/Fotobriceno

Greater Washington Board of Trade Holiday Party
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Inspired by the 1942 movie classic Holiday Inn, Hargrove Inc. transformed two formal spaces at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's H Street headquartersfor the 12th year in a rowinto a snow-filled winter garden and rustic ski lodge, which was the setting for several seasonal parties this month, including the chamber's own and another for the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
The key design element was a lodge-style 20- by 30-foot faux stone fireplace, complete with a lifelike stuffed moose head, which served as the backdrop for an equally long mahogany bar.

On December 14, the Board of Trade headed to the Chamber of Commerce for the second year to once again host its annual two-hour holiday party. “It’s our way of thanking our members for their partnership,” said the trade association’s director of meetings and events, Christine Salvador. “We wanted a great classy party, and Hargrove did an amazing job turning a very formal space into an informal environment.”

Just off the venue’s lobby, the 250 guests entered the Briefing Room, which was decked with white carpet, mounds of cotton snow, and white split-rail fencing. For photo-ops, the business leaders had the opportunity to pose on a riser with a six-foot stuffed toy bear and two tiny cubs, in front of a backdrop of softly lit Palladian windows.  

Things warmed up inside the otherwise baronial Hall of Flags where, in addition to the fireplace props, Hargrove covered lower sections of the limestone walls with barn-wood siding, hung a series of stars (reminiscent of old barn motifs) on the stage curtain, and added Christmas decor throughout the room. A jazz trio from the Levine School of Music played in one corner.  

Caterer Ridgewells selected copper chaffing dishes for the casual buffet, which included sliders, beef satay skewers, macaroni and cheese balls, and seasonal cookies. “We have a warehouse full of silver [dishes],” said sales manager Eileen Feldman. “But this time of year, it’s fun to bring out the classic copper for their warmth and reflective value.”

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