A Tour of the 8th Annual Art of the Table
Whenever I am staring at a blank piece of paper (yes, I’m old – I still write on a pad of paper!), I always turn to the holy grail of creative inspiration: Google. Just for kicks I googled “8th Anniversary”. Lo and behold, three of the four items listed were pottery, linens and bronze. What a coincidence! Because at Bilotta’s 8th Annual celebration of Art of the Table, that’s exactly what could be found in the drop-dead-gorgeous-vignettes in our New York City A&D Building showroom. From October 10th to November 2nd, Bilotta Kitchens and Replacements, Ltd., in association with Traditional Home, featured six talented designers who transformed our displays (utilizing products from the tabletop collections of Replacements) into the fantasy setting of your entertaining dreams. This year’s visionaries were Dayle Bass of Dayle Bass Design; Doreen Chambers of Doreen Chambers Interiors; Scott Hirshson, AIA of Hirshson Architecture + Design; Jacquelyn Moore-Hill of Jacquelyn Moore Hill Interior Design; Kate Singer of Kate Singer Home; and Mikel Welch of Mikel Welch Designs, LLC.
Now, join me on a virtual tour….
Dayle Bass imagined a group of women gathered for a special occasion at the home of a gracious host who loves to bake!
A champagne toast, petit fours, and a spot of tea! The theme is announced by the fanciful pastel ribbon-trimmed cakes in the corner of the countertop, the Smeg stand mixer standing at the ready, and the “Chocolate” cookbook on the island. Additionally, Dayle had been working on a project for Gabi Richter that was awash in strong color, so she was most definitely inspired to bring that same palette to her display.
Dayle chose the “Tobacco Leaf” pattern place setting by Mottahedeh as the starting point of her table. This design was based on a popular 18th century Chinese pattern, and brings to mind antique ginger jars. It consists of multi jewel-toned tobacco plant in full bloom, with a small phoenix perched upon one of its leaves. Dayle repeated the gold tones in the plates with the gold “Nina Blue” flatware by Couzon, the gold woven place mats, and the gold lotus petal votive holders. The “Wistaria Pink Crystal” stemware by Tiffin reminded Dayle of the rose gold tones that she loves. And the beautiful floral-printed napkins with the tasseled corners complete the scene. Dayle felt the design could be equally appropriate in a traditional home or a more eclectic environment.
Other notable details were the magenta satin fabric panels simply draped over the chairs and tied with braided cord; the figurines by Herend; and the “Chardonnay” crystal by Oscar de la Renta.
Doreen Chambers decided to literally put the “art” in the “art of the table”. Doreen writes a blog entitled “My Perfect World” (check it out and follow her!), and in her recent post about the event, she describes how she long admired the architectural style and powder blue color of the showroom display to which she was assigned. Doreen loves Herend China for their hand-painted detail that makes them miniature works of art; so once she selected their “Chinois” pattern, with its delicate Asian pastel floral, rust-toned border and gold trim, her theme and scheme were set.
Since Doreen wanted to feature art in her “Art of the Table” vignette, it didn’t hurt that Yvonne & Ron Parker, owners of Parker & Parker Art, are dear friends of hers. Their contributions really brought home the art theme in this display: several plaster sculptors from Yvonne’s fantasy Blanc de Blanc series adorned the countertops; Ron’s hand painted Parker People plates took center stage in a tall built-in display case; and a Japanese lithograph by artist Kinuko Craft and supplied by Ron adorned a wall.
But let’s get back to Doreen’s table, which was truly dressed to the nines, and filled with bespoke details. The custom oval tablecloth, made from De Le Cuona’s Meadow Spring blue and brown paisley fabric, and trimmed with grosgrain ribbon (from Samuel & Sons) and blue and brown tassels (from H&A Upholstery Workroom) echoed the color scheme established by the china. Adding to the Asian flair were Kim Seybert’s Trellis wood place mats and distressed natural/silver napkins.
Additional artesian components were Ceci New York’s menu cards and place cards, inlaid with a paisley motif that complemented the table setting. And for a touch of glamorous sparkle, L’Objet provided the Pave Sphere place-card holders, the garland napkin rings and the pine cone spice jewels salt and pepper set. This beautifully decorated table was made complete with Navarre-Pink Crystal by Fostoria and Cordoba braided silver flatware by Ralph Lauren.
This particular display is fairly large, and Doreen used every square inch of space (not just the table itself) to further enhance her desired theme and mood. For instance, she added luxurious pillows to the already upholstered banquette to reinforce her Asian aesthetic. A large footed crystal fruit bowl (Mille Nuits Crystal by Baccarat) filled with clementines and a soup tureen in Herend’s Chinese Banquet- Rust pattern graced the island. The Festiva Silver Champagne bucket by Mary Jurek Design and Bretagne Crystal by Baccarat hinted at a festive toast later in this imaginary evening. Berry & Thread Whitewash China by Juliska and Strasbourg Silver by Gorham round out the remaining glass door cabinetry and countertops to beautiful effect.
When Scott Hirshson, AIA, saw his assigned display, he immediately envisioned a “party in motion” that would be typical of urban kitchens where guests are up close and personal with the preparation space. He drew inspiration from our kitchen display, with its modern design, plentiful brass accents, and the multi-function sink in the island. Scott’s fictional party would start with champagne at the bar that was set up at the sink.
Guests would sit at the island table for sushi, perhaps grab another drink at the bar, then gravitate toward the cooktop area for dessert. (He cleverly fleshed out his concept with realistic fake sushi and pastries). His design began with the choice of plates: a stylized motif of birds and trees called Taika Black by Iittala. From that decision, the rest of the scheme took hold. The unique flatware, Goa Silver by Cutipol, has a tapered black resin handle with satin stainless steel, and the Goa collection even includes the chopsticks and chopstick rests. The stemware at the table is crystal by Bergdorf Goodman, whose curved vertical facets resemble the crystal points of a geode.
The place settings were highlighted with a pop of color in the custom placemats, with the orange hue echoed in the teapot on the cooktop. Scott carried out the color scheme with other accents in the room: black and gold cups and serving pieces and a black tiered serving tray; wood accents on the shade; the brass finish on the bar; the artwork; and the pattern of a hand-made rug. Like a homeowner who has been collecting place settings and serving pieces for many years, Scott filled his display with pieces of varying patterns and from many different manufacturers; silver trays from Alessi; china from Rosenthal, Lenox and Tiffany & Co; and Crystal from Christofle, Ralph Lauren and Waterford.
When faced with the large modern kitchen display in cool high-gloss white and gray with white and black counters and tabletops, Jacquelyn Moore-Hill just knew that she needed to warm it up with a pop of color and a traditional counterpoint to the ultra-contemporary surroundings. Jacquelyn has a wallpaper collection, JQLYN & CO., that is filled with patterns that are boldly colored and inspired by nature, and this sensibility informed the inspiration for her “art of the table” design. In preparation, she created a “mood board”, which consisted mostly of formal English gardens with Geometric planting beds, vine covered brick walls, sculpted boxwoods, and topiaries. Her design scheme centered around traditional toile and jasperware, architectural boxwoods, and charming bird figurines. The color palette began with a toile-style place setting of black florals and birds on yellow, called Adelaide yellow, by 222 Fifth. To ground the yellow and add a more graphic punch, she added the classic, Greek-themed jasperware by Wedgwood in black basalt. Each place setting was a layered mix of contrasting shapes and colors: a solid black round charger plate, topped with a solid white scalloped square charger in Wedgwood’s shapely Baroque pattern; stacked onto those were the Adelaide Yellow toile dinner and salad plates; copped off with matte black sherbet bowls by Transition Black. Tucked between the black and white chargers were yellow napkins by Sferra.
Jacquelyn brought nature to the table with the surprising inclusion of bird figurines by Boehm China, Goebel & Kaiser & Lenox. (Some of them under a clear glass domed cloche atop an impressively large Jasperware stand!) Although usually thought as tchotchkes you’d find in grandma’s curio cabinet, Jacquelyn believes that when integrated into a tablescape, they add a touch of whimsy. (And speaking of whimsy, Jacquelyn referenced the bird figurines, as well as the yellow and black color scheme, by humorously nicknaming her design “Canary in a Coal Mine”.) Completing her design were bamboo Silverware by Ricci, as well as the perennial favorite Lismore Diamond Crystal pattern (by Waterford), only this time re-imagined in black. This 65-year-old design was then paired modern Crystal from the collectors of William Yeoward for a fresh twist.
To decorate the island, Jacquelyn collaborated with Prudence Designs & Events to create the craspedia and yellow orchid center wreath. It was one of Prudence’s owners (Grayson Handy) who also suggested using preserved boxwood for maintenance-free topiaries for the table, island and surrounding countertops.
Because Jacquelyn loves to mix periods, she chose to balance the contemporary display and her traditional tablescape decorations by going back in time to some Mid-Century vintage Verner Panton dining chairs from Ideal Forms and Lucite bar stools from Lobel Modern (NYC), both which have a kick of verdant green that echoes the boxwoods. And in order to help fill the additional countertop space and open shelving, Jacquelyn turned to her go-to source for home accessories: Thomas O’Brian’s Aero Studios.
Kate Singer loved the sleek and sophisticated design of her assigned display and felt the ample stainless-steel island would be ideal for a serious cook and entertainer. That set her imagination into motion and she immediately envisioned a New York City fashion editor preparing brunch for friends. Kate loves the juxtaposition of sleek with feminine; modern with soft; and her favorite color palette is pink, gray and white.
So Kate created a luxurious tablescape on the crackled glass counter-height table for her fantasy gathering. Round pink and gold place mats by Kim Seybert, encrusted with dressmaker embroidery of pearls and seed beads, mark each place setting. Ralph Lauren’s Silk Ribbon china is used in “Slate” for the dinner plate, under “Pink” for the salad plate. The pattern is simultaneously simple yet detailed, with platinum dots and a basket-weave motif on either a slate or pink band. The flatware is a modern contrast to the ornately feminine place mats: a chunky open chain-link design, also by Ralph Lauren, appropriately named “Chain Link”. More delicate detailing abounds in the pink-trimmed, white napkins, gathered in a 3-dimensional pink beaded napkin ring, both by Kim Seybert.
Kate’s tablescape was completed by the graceful contemporary Wishes champagne flutes by Waterford and a pink, white and green floral centerpiece nestled into a silver bowl. The sink countertop is set up as the bar with pink glassware and silver bar-ware, and the island is the perfect staging area for entrée, side dishes and dessert. Ashley Silver by International Silver; Equestrian Braid Silver by Ralph Lauren; Polka Dot Crystal by Waterford; and Hewitt Platinum China by Ralph Lauren, were all used to achieve the party atmosphere of the space. And to add even more softness to the environment, as well as a more organic sensibility, Kate adorned the bar and island with additional greenery, flowers and potted herbs, all provided by Floras Avenue.
Mikel Welch prides himself on creating personalized spaces, unique to his clients’ tastes and lifestyles. But with a busy NYC design firm, he finds that the gritty streets of New York can result in a serious case of sensory overload. Hence, for his own home he tends to gravitate toward a calming, neutral palette to greet him upon his return. When presented with his assigned showroom display, he viewed it as a blank-slate opportunity to create his own dream kitchen and dining room. Mikel envisioned a tranquil yet inviting setting where he could welcome close family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner.
Mikel has always been a fan of Calvin Klein’s clean and timeless aesthetic, so it was a no-brainer decision to select Calvin Klein’s Cargo collection. Above all, he wanted to avoid the impression of a standard boxed set of china, so he chose to alternate two color tones to achieve a more curated feel. The brown stoneware Cargo-Raisin salad plates are sandwiched between the speckled cream Cargo-Cream dinner plate and soup bowl. The serving platter and bowls were from this same collection in the cream color.
Mikel is a huge fan of primitive modern design, which is rooted in modernism with an emphasis on craftsmanship and natural, organic materials. This aesthetic was carried through in all of Mikel’s design decisions. For instance, the Raven Silver flatware by Oneida has a hand-hewn feel with it’s simply shaped black oxidized handle. A beautifully textured natural and brown woven napkin was cleverly placed underneath the place settings and draped over the edge of the table. Even the dining chairs that he chose reflected the primitive modern aesthetic. The Ethan Allen Berkshire Dining Chairs are a pared-down modernist play on a centuries-old farmhouse Windsor comb-back design.
This particular display afforded Mikel the bonus of two 12’ open shelves to fill with decorative and practical objects to help advance his primitive modern theme. He turned to Anglo Raj Antiques for such items as rice baskets, framed monk scroll artwork and even a beautifully aged leather trunk. Artist Brad Teasdale provided his Mermaid King Statue that he created from concrete and driftwood collected in his boat along Fire Island, NY. And scattered throughout were lathe-turned candlesticks and hand-thrown pottery of all shapes and sizes, filled with greenery and flowers.
Our thanks to these six accomplished, gifted designers who all contributed to making this year’s “Art of the Table” a resounding success! Click here to see a video from the opening night with interviews of all the designers and sponsors.
This post was written by senior designer, Paulette Gambacorta. Paulette has been designing kitchens with Bilotta for over 23 years.