DIFFA’s (Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS) Dining by Design returned to the Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center for the 11thyear. Once again the most exciting dining environments in town drew support for the Positive Health Program of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute. The event also marked the 30thanniversary of the first formal report of the AIDS virus, and although no cure has been found, local supporters commemorated the milestones in research and treatments since.
Gary Hutton for the San Francisco Design Center
Aaron Silverstein for Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein
Mondo Guerra in collaboration with interior design students from San Francisco State University for Merck’s Living Positive by Design
Event co-chairs were the acclaimed interior and furniture designer Gary Hutton and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Ronette King of Gensler who each designed highly contemporary settings. Joining them were Bay Area and national talents from the fields of architecture, landscape, interior, and furniture design, as well as event planning and fashion. They conjured up fabulous vignettes that ranged from modern and minimal to traditional, whimsical and highly detailed.
New York fashion designer Tracy Reese took inspiration from her 2011 Fall collection in her installation for Effen Vodka, and Denver-based designer Mondo Guerra, who can currently be seen on “Project Runway All-Stars, collaborated with interior design students from San Francisco State University. Together they created a community table called “Phoenix”, which was inspired by Mondo’s emotional journey since his public acknowledgment of being HIV-positive, as well as his experience with the Living Positive By Design campaign with the pharmaceutical giant Merck.
Another successful student collaboration returned this year: the School of Interior Architecture at the Academy of Art University with the leadership of Ernie Mariotto created a minimal and high contrast concept inspired by love. Their table “one heART” perfectly represented the essence of Dining by Design.
The two-night event started out with the Table Hop & Taste preview, followed by the Gala Dinner the next evening. The first night was a cocktail party sponsored by Effen Vodka and catered by a number of San Francisco’s finest restaurants and chefs, including 25 Lusk, Fifth Floor, Bisou, Limon and Chef Tyler Stone. More then 700 guests were dazzled by the over-the-top table installations while enjoying special cocktails and delectable bites.
In attendance were Scott Heldfond, Holly Baxter, Carolyn Chandler, Samantha Duvall, Andre de Baubigny, Andrew Lam, Marta Benson, restaurateur Bob Puccini, chef James Stolich, interior designers Melanie Coddington, Michael Friedes, Dining by Design alumni Candace Barnes, Steven Miller, Brian Dittmar, David Hansen, Barbara Ashfield, Jay Jeffers, Paul Benson and Lawanna Endonino. They were joined by antique dealer Eric Petsinger and accessory designer Jennifer Bennet and hundreds of other design aficionados.
At the Gala Dinner guests previewed the tables during the cocktail reception while eagerly awaiting dinner served by Taste Catering in San Francisco’s most unique dining environments. Among them were Rita Moreno, Tim Wu, Wilkes Bashford, Dr. Diane Havlir, Dr. C. Bradley Hare, Barbara Waldman, Dennis L. Winger,Tim and Carol Treadway, Rue Magazine’s co-founder Crystal Gentilello, as well as interior designers Irene Turner, Scot Meacham Wood, Antonio Martins, Gino Castano, and Stuart Gilchrist. I had the pleasure of being a guest at the Academy of Art University’s table, and I treasure the Zen heart bell I received as a token to remember the evening.
Dining by Design has no jury and very little creative restrictions. As a result the unusual implementation of materials and objects captivates guests each year. Hostesses and avid entertainers, chefs and gourmets, house wives and house husbands, design professionals and enthusiasts all marvel at the details each table so exquisitely displays. Applegate Tran had rubber duckies floating in the center of the table, Bashford & Dale mixed flowers with lab glass, Kathleen Monroe floated fighting fish in large goblets, Mikki Bourne used vintage collars and bowties for place mats.
Custom table with rubber ducky pool by Applegate Tran Interiors
Centerpieces by Bashford & Dale Interiors
Detail of table by Kathleen Monroe with Stitch
Place settings by Mikki Bourne with Stitch
Place setting by Shades of Green Landscape Architecture
Place setting with pomegranates by Hartmann Studios
Coconut bowl with shells at IFDA
Succulent centerpiece by John Whitmarsh
Dog mask at Aldea and Lab Experiment
Bowls, plates, goblets, chairs and table designed by Aaron Silverstein
Preparation for the next Dining by Design in San Francisco are in high gear, and organizers are already starting to take reservations from sponsors for the most coveted table locations. For more please visit DIFFA San Francisco.