Imagine you are a designer. Fun! And someone asks you to design a party in a tent. Cool! And the tent is in a parking lot. Ok. And guests enter the tent through a warehouse. Mmmhmmm. And the warehouse is in an office park on Long Island. Seriously? Yup. That, my friends, is a day in the life!
I know it sounds totally nuts, but this event industry party was so crazy cool that when all was said and done, the warehouse and the parking lot and the whole thing made perfect sense! It was a great honor to be invited to partner with New York Tent for their annual industry showcase and celebration and to have the opportunity to collaborate with my good friends at Sterling Affair catering to create an atmosphere that highlighted their cuisine.
My design inspiration blossomed when Peter of Sterling Affair selected a stainless and mirror bar that he wanted to use for food service from furniture rental partner Greenroom. After looking at a photo of the piece, I thought I would run with the stainless steel concept, especially since the palette for the party had been set as Honeysuckle pink (Pantone color of the year) and gray. Then, I began to think about the unusual setting for the party in the New York Tent warehouse and what types of things may be there and I began to get really excited about creating what I decided to call "industrial chic."
Once the concept began to develop I was hit with an epiphany that dated back ten years... I had seen an exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show in which the designer covered a tabletop with nuts and bolts, topped it with glass and then set it with beautiful china. I had a snapshot of that table in my mind for a decade because I just adored the juxtaposition of the industrial and the refined and this was finally the moment to put that inspiration to use! Lucky for me, Home Depot sells Honeysuckle pink spray paint so that I could pull the whole concept together.
To brand Sterling's and my area of the tent - an elevated platform that created a second level (!!) - I designed a cog pattern that I used on the bars and table tops which spoke to our theme. I love using inexpensive and easy vinyl transfers to put my personal stamp on existing fixtures.
In the cores of my beautiful glass vases from Sandy and Mike's wedding, I inserted PVC pipes that I painted silver and then in the space between the pipe and the glass I layered jumbo hex nuts and bolts, some painted pink to add a little bit of "chic" to my "industrial." An edgy combo of pink flowers accented with black wire echoed the contrast I was trying to create throughout the space as I combined soft, romantic peonies with sleek, sexy calla lilies... and they lived together in perfect harmony!
To push my industrial chic obsession to the limit, I wanted to imagine a piece that I could hang over Sterling's signature chocolate bar that would catch guests' eyes as they entered the tent on the ground level and looked up to our open, second level platform. After a little bit of research, I because smitten with lighting designer Michael McHale's TDF copper pipe chandeliers, so I had to try and make a little one of my own. I used galvanized plumbing pipes with mismatched joints to create a frame and then wired it with sparkling crystal strands. The talented team at Luminous Designs lit it perfectly and created connectivity throughout the space by projecting cog patterned gobos on the floor.
The final piece of the puzzle was a last minute addition to include some extra guest seating. Rental partner Party Rental, Ltd. provided raw bars (generally filled with ice and then topped with seafood) which I filled with crystals and then placed trays of silver and pink nails down the center and closed off the raw bar with a piece of clear lucite. We added some tall stools and - voila! - bar-style seating!
If you can't tell, I had a pretty good time channeling my inner construction worker to show my industry friends a little bit of the crazy that goes on in my mind. Now that I got that nut and bolt thing out of my system, I don't know what will be next...
Thank you to the talented Mel Barlow for these photos. If you want to see what the other amazing design team of Claire Bean Floral Design and Brent Newsome Catering did, check out Mel's blog.
Til next time,