Monday, October 13, 2008

Dining (and drinking!) By Design

With downtown Los Angeles being our most ‘vogue’ neighborhood, this chic fundraiser - showing off white hot interior stylists’ interpretations of exquisite dining rooms - took place at LA Mart Design Center, a few weeks ago.

Since 1984, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) has donated more than $35 million to AIDS service organizations. Dining By Design is the non-profit’s multi-city fundraising tour. After kicking off in New York City, the exposition is (still) making its way around the country, stopp
ing in Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. I was happy to catch the wildly stylish L.A. leg of the tour.

These events have raised more than $12 million for AIDS related charities in past years feature awe-inspiring dining installations by industry luminaries such as architect David Rockwell, fashion designer Vivienne Tam and tabletop designer Marc Blackwell who created event sponsor Beringer Vineyard’s table.

The Beringer table was one of my favorites because it brought the outside in-doors. Designer, Marc Blackwell, said that he was inspired by “the passion and honesty in winemaking,” which I thought was well reflected in his melding of Napa’s rustic beauty with chic, modern comfort, creating an elegant-yet-approachable arena for entertaining. (I could imagine myself pulling up a chair and tucking into some roast duck with a juicy Cab or full-bodied Syrah!)

The three-day L.A. celebration began with “Cocktails by Design,” on Saturday, September 13, during which Jason and I meandered from installation to installation, sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres. The $125 affair featured some opulently creative interpretations of dining spaces, ranging from antique Buddhas and low tables, to wild prints and rich textures dripping with crystals. There was even one David Rockwell display that featured a fully crocheted dining setting! (How would one clean such a thing?)

Unfortunately, I left town the next day, so I didn’t get to sample goodies from some of LA’s top restaurants at the Table Hop & Taste on Sunday, or the $500 Gala Dinner on Monday. However, at the cocktail party I was able to sample some of Beringer Vineyard’s yummy Third Century wines. So named for entering its third century of winemaking, the winery’s newest line features chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and syrah. (Now available nationwide!)

I can’t think of a more fun way to take in “functional art” for a good cause… and be on the clock tasting wine. I may have even picked up a few interior design tips in the process… though I assure you that I won’t be pulling my knitting needles out of that box in the garage to implement them.

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