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Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Design Reads: Light x Design

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I recently received a copy of Light x Design: 20 Years of Lighting by Bentley Meeker. Meeker is a lighting designer. While he started at The Palladium during the Wubba Wubba Wubba era (if you get that reference you are as old as I am!), his focus today is on event design. Now here comes the part where I am embarrassed. As I looked through the different pictures of the events (many of which were planned by Preston Baily), it took me until my third perusal to realize a lot of them were taken of the very same spaces (at the same angle even). The lighting design had so transformed the spaces that I could did not even recognize them.  The other thing I appreciate about this book is that Meeker’s lighting highlights and transforms some of New York City’s most glorious interior spaces, from Gotham Hall to The Museum of Natural History (imagine the whale in shades of blue and green speckles). While Meeker and architecture are a great pair, you’d be amazed at what he can do with a tent as well.

Pardon my photography, which does not do the book’s photography justice; my scanner is on the fritz so I had to shoot the book with my camera. Not ideal.

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Friday, April 30th, 2010

David Stark Interview and Book Giveaway

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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There will be no flickr faves today as I had the privilege of interviewing event designer extraordinaire David Stark this week and I wanted to post it posthaste (there is some kind of new, lame, blogging pun in there somewhere, between “post” and “posthaste” but I’m going to leave it alone). Also, one of you lucky readers will have the privilege of scoring his new book, David Stark Design FOR FREE! Just leave us an event planning story, tip, or just tell us a go-to item you find yourself using to decorate the table with again and again in the comments section to enter. If you can’t wait or if you don’t win, click here to purchase the book. We will choose a winner on Friday, May 7.

We’ve talked about David’s projects here before; I had picked a favorite awhile back (the Metropolitan Opera, bedecked in graphics from operas past), but after browsing his projects again I realize it’s impossible. I mean, how intimidating must it be to design the event for the anniversary of Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards? No sweat for David and his team.

Event for the Metropolitan Opera

So many of your ideas go beyond my wildest imagination – What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone on how to get inspired when they are planning their decor for a party?

Open up your mind to the world of material possibilities.  Flowers are my first love and the reason I got into this business in the first place, but flowers are simply one tool in the tool box.  Paint swatches from the hardware store, Post-it notes, number 2 pencils – anything really can be lassoed to become lovely touches to or an entire, breathtaking transformations of a space.

Please share a secret or two on how to set a striking table on a tiny budget.

I always say I would rather do one or two things perfectly than 25 things in a watered down way.  If I am buying flowers, instead of buying one bunch of three different species, I buy three bunches of the same species for more impact.   The supermarket holds a bounty of centerpiece ideas.  A line of green apples marching down the table is a centerpiece one night and a snack or pie the day after.  Pin a place card to a perfect apple at each place setting to create the “exclamation point at the end of the sentence!”


For this wedding in Maine, local flora was put to use. Trees that had been cut on the property were chopped into logs to create dramatic backdrops, and pinecones were put to work as placecard holders.

Our readers are very environmentally conscious. How can we stay green when decorating for an event that will only last a few hours?

The best start is by avoiding disposable silverware, plates, napkins, and cups.  I know it is EASIER to clean up by simply tossing, but it’s not that much extra work to wash your dishes.  For centerpieces, potted plants, especially this time of year, can begin as a centerpiece for your dining table.   The next morning,  plant your centerpiece in your garden to enjoy all summer long.

If you are crafty, you can turn your trash into treasure.  I have made all kinds of topiary and paper flowers out of our office paper waste, and in fact, we are creating a whole flower shop, called The (purley paper) Flower Shoppe to celebrate the launch of our new book at the west elm store on Broadway and 62nd Street.  The store is open to the public for two days only:  May 13th and 14th and is filled with all kinds of garden-y treasures that we have hand-made from the pages of old books.

So you ever feel creatively blocked? If so, how do you break through it?

I go  for a looong walk at Target. J

What is one of your favorite indulgences?

I am addicted to the gym and the trainers that keep me healthy and in my head and my heart.

Please share a favorite project with us and tell us a little bit about it.

Oh, I don’t have a favorite project!!!  That would be like singling out your favorite child!  But . . . I am particularly fond of a gala we designed for the Robin Hood Foundation a couple of years ago where we received a million dollars worth of donated items that the program recipients needed – food, clothing, shoes, alarm clocks, blankets, and so on.  We created radical and towering installations with these materials for the event, and then after, each item went to the people that needed it most.  100 percent charity, playing double duty as art, without any waste.  I like that.  A lot.

Yup, that is a cyclone of shoes!

Thank you so much for your time and all the inspiration I glean from you!

OMG!  It is my honor to be interviewed by you!  Thank YOU!

all images from davidstarkdesign.com

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