The Metropolitan Museum of Art does not often invite visitors to sit directly on the art, but they have made an exception for these Washington Skeleton Side Chairs (2013), designed by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, which can be found in the gallery where the 2020 Holiday Tree is on display.
These delicately balanced, precisely engineered chairs emerged from the design process for the façade of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which opened in Washington DC in 2016. David Adjaye developed an intricate lattice form that was an investigation of the geometry, materiality, light and shadow.
Both functional in its shading role, and poetic in its abstract visual qualities, this screen borrowed from African design patterns but also paid homage to the history of enslaved blacksmiths and their ironwork for ornamental gates in southern cities such as New Orleans and Charleston.
Utilizing the smaller scale of furniture as an agile testing ground for these architectural ideas, Adjaye produced what he describes as a “narrative about skin, form and structure.“ Here, he shapes the skeletal, ribbed surfaces to mimic the form of a seated person, resulting in a cantilevered, ergonomic silhouette that almost disappears when in use. Made of die-cast aluminum, then powder coated and copper plated, the chairs are manufactured by Knoll International.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
here’s another one of my favorite Dining By Design Installations from this year’s DIFFA event, which features carefully curated dining vignettes that raise awareness for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS. Gensler New York’s 2019 design concept, titled You Are Beautiful, served as a celebratory reminder to all those individuals living with HIV/AIDS that they are Beautiful, both inside and out, they deserve enduring happiness, and, most importantly, they are not alone in their fight.
In partnership with Knoll, EvensonBest, and MillerBlaker, the free-standing vignette embraces the idea of joyful inner beauty too abundant to be contained. The raw and honest space, flanked by stained plywood, reveals the cut-out and applied “You Are Beautiful” message luring guests to peer inside.
A warm color palette informed by the branded red color of an AIDS ribbon articulates the vibrant interior, featuring furniture and tabletop accessories by Muuto and Filzfelt.
Finally, a series of colorful, transparent Beach Balls dance above the table, representing playfulness and lighthearted respite to spark conversation and empower the values of enduring happiness.
For this week’s Eye on Design, we are presenting a fabulous visual recap of the 20th annual Dining By Design event, sponsored by Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA).
Event Signage Outside Pier 92, Where the Event Takes Place
Held in tandem with the Architectural Digest Design Show, Dining By Design showcases imaginative, one-of-a-kind tabletop design in a series of dazzling dining installations by internationally renowned and local talent. Items in each dining tableau, as well as one-of-a-kind original artworks, are part of a silent auction fundraiser, in which everyone can participate. As DIFFA National’s largest fundraiser, Dining By Design raises nearly a million dollars annually, with proceeds going towards grants to organizations combating HIV/AIDS.
Please enjoy photos of a few of our favorite installations!
White Room by The New School at Parsons School of Design: Meal is constructed of found materials from each borough of New York City, allowing the projected materials costs to be donated back to HIV/AIDS activism. Unified in one color, the assemblage serves as an analogy for the many New Yorkers affected by HIV/AIDS. Built by a community to give back to a community.
White Room Detail
The New York Times Designed by Liaigre, with Douglas Little.
Pratt Interior Design: Movers and Shakers
M Moser Associates Installation featuring the Vondom Adan Planter (seen here as the Table Base) by Italian architect and designer Teresa Sapey, which was a featured item up for bid in the silent.
Interior Design Produced By Silver Lining (Love Table).
It is unfortunate that what turns out to be my best set of photos is of an installation whose designer and associated details I somehow neglected to take note of.
Antique mirror place settings are embedded in a natural moss-covered table surface for ‘Green’ Dining at its finest — very cool!
Perkins and Will with Steelcase and Other Sponsors: (Re)action
One in 8 people living with HVI do not know it. The Pulley system symbolizes the human effort needed to promote awareness and prevention. Illumination is achieved through action. Active participation in the fight for prevention and cure is key for enlightenment.
Installation by Cappellini, Designed by Giulio Cappellini and Antonio Facco.
This showcase by Twyla featured original abstract paintings by Architect-turned-Artist Edward Granger. Mystify, (2017 ) seen above, left, was part of the auction as well.
These elegant yet comfy-looking low banquets were custom made for the installation.
Beautiful flora including succulents, cacti and air plants were expertly arranged into pieces of living art for an entire wall of this dining space, Desert at Dusk Lush Landscapes by Ovando (donated by Ovando and Rockwell Group). Landscapes are designed in elegant 10”x10” black plate glass boxes.
Here’s a better look at the really fantastic desert garden wall. All plants were available to own via the silent auction.
Furnishings by Poltrona Frau are features in this showcase designed by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz, with LASVIT Lighting and Orley Shabahang carpets.
Here are separate, but more detailed shots of the left and the right sides of this installation. I really love the Rooster mural!
Design featuring Anteriors inspired furnishings.
Anteriors Detail Shot
Fight Club Logo-inspired Design by Gensler, featuring Knoll Furniture with assistance from contract furnishings company EvensonBest.
Known for its sofas and sectionals, French designer furniture company Roche Bobois provided the vibrantly-colored cushioned seating that covers the walls of this dining installation, created by Gensler.
What an original, wildly imaginative design approach!
The immersive, 360-degree scrim over the table features a kinetic projection of ocean waves, so that you can feel like you’re dining at the beach! Excellent!
Find out more about DIFFA and its sponsored events, at Diffa Dot Org!
Primarily known as a painter and architect, Roberto Matta (1911 – 2002) designed his Malitte Lounge Furniture in 1966. This colorful collection of polyurethane foam shapes (manufactured by Gavina, Italy) could be stacked into a rectangular wall or used as individual pieces of seating. The round, center piece serves as a table. The design is playful and flexible, Its interlocking organic shapes reflect Matta’s training as an architect in his native Chile, as well as his Surrealist painting practice, which developed after his move to Paris.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Below, Malitte Lounge Furniture Poster Photographed in December 2019