A behind-the-scenes look at 4 of the dining installations to be viewed at DX during Design Week (Jan 22-25)
Monogram Dinner by Design – a fundraiser benefiting Design Exchange and Casey House, which works to provide healthcare to those with HIV/AIDS – celebrates the fusion of food and design with a cocktail night, gala dinner and four-day public exhibition. Eleven top Canadian designers create dining installations that run the gamut from glitzy and traditional to sculptural and cutting-edge.
Whet your appetite for dinner party ideas with our behind-the-scenes looks at four of the participating design studios’ early concept sketches and inspirational mood boards.
The takeaway: Start with a central statement piece, then select accessories that can hold their own
Seeking elements that could effectively contrast the raw, natural character of a live-edge table provided by Dennis Lin, Burdifilek’s interior designers opted for similarly masculine but slightly more refined pieces, favouring artisanal designs in dark colours or metallic finishes. The ten minimalist Hollis+Morris Oldtown stools seated around the table match the matte black dinnerware at each placesetting, while luxe golden utensils stand out with subtle sheen. The entire vignette takes place inside of a wood frame wrapped in custom Moss and Lam-designed canvases.
2 Hariri Pontarini
The takeaway: Create a textured space that engages with all five senses
Neurogastronomy posits that what we see, hear, and touch influences how our brains perceive flavour. Inspired by Casey House’s compassionate, supportive care, Hariri Pontarini Architects collaborated with felt artist Kathryn Walter to create a dining vignette that imparts warmth and comfort, augmenting the contentment experienced while eating. By opting for natural materials and handcrafted designs, the firm creates an experience that pays tribute to the human touch.
3 I-V (Monogram)
The takeaway: Harken back to ancestral dining rituals
Influenced by primitive dining experiences, I-V created a cave-like volume. Charred cedar and cast copper finishes reference fire and light, while the environment’s sleek exterior creates a juxtaposition between past and present.
4 Mason Studio
The takeaway: Play high-low, mixing fine China with Value Village finds
Mason’s multidisciplinary designers realized that many of their most memorable gatherings occurred by happenstance. To represent this, the team created a casual, eclectically-layered tablescape that combines cherished heirlooms and bargain finds – a varied mix that reflects the different personalities sure to be seated at the firm’s table. The setting for this lively dinner? An abstracted farmhouse – a cozy place of refuge from the oft-inhospitable conditions of Canadian winter, which frequently encourages spontaneous combinations of food, environment and conversation.
Other intriguing setups being created for Monogram Dinner by Design: Castor Design‘s moulded, glass-like hard candy table, KPMB Architects‘ Emily Post-inspired ode to good etiquette, plus a cabinet of curiosities assembled out of Partisans‘ inventive project prototypes. Tables by Candice & Alison, Colette van den Thillart for NH Design, Sarah Richardson Design and Uufie round out the mix.
Set up on Design Exchange’s Trading Floor at 234 Bay St, the eleven dining environments will be on view to the public from January 22-25, with Interior Design Show ticket-holders receiving free admission. A $5 donation is suggested for other visitors.
Looking for more great dining room inspiration? Check out our gallery of great dining rooms featured in past DL issues, and read our guides for assembling formal, compact and family-friendly dining spaces.