Dinner by Design Vancouver 2013 Coverage (Photos)

Ten uniquely talented interior designers came together early this week to create truly stunning tablescapes for some of the city’s most generous and savvy residents at Vancouver’s first Dinner by Design. Spanning three separate events at The Imperial, Monogram Dinner by Design serves as a prelude to IDSWest and was flawlessly executed by local event superstars “The Social Concierge“.

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As you walked in, you were served a flute of bubbly, had your picture taken and took a second to admire the admittedly beautiful offerings of the Monogram Series of kitchen appliances from General Electric.

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Up for raffle was a Frank Gehry designed brooch from Tiffany & Co. estimated at about twenty-three thousand dollars. The proceeds from the raffle went to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.

Right away, there was an entrance table by Aloe Designs entitled “Desert Farmhouse”. Inspired by Palm Springs and the Napa Valley, Aloe had created a whimsical table that felt like a farmhouse had been given a beautiful, agriculturally influenced modern makeover.

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The bar even had a theme by Michael Bergen Design. Inspired by the American desert heat and titled “Arid Oasis”, it had the sponsor’s Stella Artois beers resting in fine sand alongside a tipi and a number of succulents.

The Point of it All

dr. peter
Ultimately, Dinner by Design is a fundraising event. In addition to getting some of Vancouver’s biggest movers in the same room to appreciate some truly stunning works of art, the function’s proceeds went to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. When it started, Dinner by Design was organized to fund Canada’s first free-standing HIV/AIDS facility, Casey House. It is easy to see that the event is concerned about the treatment of AIDS and HIV for those who need the help the most. Dr. Peter Jepson-Young was truly one of Vancouver’s greatest citizens. Please, if you can, help out the foundation in any capacity as it is fighting a truly righteous fight for people who can’t do it on their own.

The Bar

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Central to the first night’s theme was the bar and its focus on “Cocktail Art”. Three mind-blowing Absolut Elyx mixologists, led by Brand Ambassador Jacob Sweetapple, were in attendance mixing drinks that required pressure tubes, stir sticks and even syringes.

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The Tablescapes

Amanda Forrest Interior Design Group – You Are My Secret

A stunning tablescape upon which to walk in, “You Are My Secret” by Amanda Forrest was obviously a crowd favourite with a number of people constantly hovering around the table snapping pictures of the plates and the gold masks hanging from the backs of the chairs. My first impression was “Eyes Wide Shut” meets punk chic, almost exclusively because of the skull plates.


Début Event Design Inc. – Crystal Clear

A quick glance at Début‘s tablescape is all it takes to recognize the theme they were trying to put forth. Save for an entrance area at the front, the entire installation is surrounded by draping crystals making those on the inside feel exclusive – not unlike the curtain dividing first class from the rest of the plane. Similarly, everything on the inside of the curtains was as transparent as possible, from the chairs to the semi opaque tabletop.


Sophie Burke Design – Scandinavian Rustic

An early, simple favourite of ours was Sophie Burke‘s entry “Scandanavian Rustic” where we were transported from the downtown Eastside to a cabin the woods of Sweden. Natural colours and materials almost had me smelling the pine of the sauna out back.


Robert Blaney Design – Into the Woods

Robert Blaney‘s “Into the Woods” was easily the most unique table installation at the fundraising event. Strongly influenced by his father’s reading “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” in his early childhood, the tablescape featured a tree as the centrepiece, cross sections of a trunk for plates, and more cross sections of smaller branches serving as coasters. When viewed from above, the plate, along with the coasters, create the image of a bear’s paw. The understandably proud Robert Blaney managed to transport us back to our childhoods with indigenous plant life and candles hanging from branches as lighting for the installation.


Filosphi Event Planning & Design – Modern Lucy

Based on a song that was influenced by a hallucinogenic drug lends opportunity for very liberal use of colour and whimsey; something Filosophy had no problem exemplifying with their installation “Modern Lucy”. Using an all white model sail boat as a centrepiece, the table is draped in cloth of a scenic, colourful forest. adorned with beautiful colourful flowers diagonally. Torched mini marshmallows in vibrant muffin cups awaited the diners.


Evoke International Design Inc. – White Noise

The simplicity and lack of colour in Evoke‘s contribution, “White Noise” contrasts perfectly with all the, very frankly, random white crap adorning the middle of the table. The walls were covered in a bone white and then, in a sharper white, words were painted on every inch in a style reminiscent of Stephen Sprouse. One of the more visually striking installations at the event, the only thing in the room that wasn’t white was the blue light given off by the simply-hung fluorescent lighting diffused with draped white fabric.


Medina Design Group – Cheers to Understated Elegance

Perhaps the installation that grew on me the most as I continued to look at it was that of Ivan Quintana and the Medina Design Group. “Cheers to Understated Elegance” is perhaps the most aptly named tablescape of the event. Hanging above the table were dozens of pieces of glassware providing a unique means of replacing a traditional chandelier. Adding a splash of colour to the table were three vases filled with white orchids elegantly tied in a bouquet by a long green leaf. In addition to the monogrammed serviettes, the head and foot of the table featured stunning blue Versace Medusa dinner plates. Without a doubt, Medina’s table was the most welcoming and warm feeling dinner party arrangement.


Moeski Design Agency – Black & White Boudoir

Moeski Design Agency‘s effort appeared in the form of a very metallic, yet tidy, offering. Adorning the walls of the installation were giant black and white images of nude women. Above the table hung an explosion of lights draping a bouquet of yellow roses in perfectly warm light. Stainless backless chairs were used – something I’m sure was conducive to making sure guests lean forward and partake in conversation!


Kelly Deck Design + Terris Lightfoot Contracting Ltd. – Dinner Anastasia

Nestled under a hand woven roof and wall installation of red, white, black and green wool were two perfectly pleated lamps that illuminated the elegant and simple installation from Kelly Deck and Terris Lightfoot. “Dinner Anastasia” featured a black runner in the middle of the table with red roses and other smaller flowers arranged in beautifully contrasting bouquets. A gift placed on each guest’s plate awaited their arrival giving the clean tablescape a bit of mystery and intrigue.


Ste. Marie Art & Design – Holy Ghost

The least well, but most uniquely lit installation was that of the Ste. Marie Art & Design. That is not to say that the lighting, provided by Good Animal, wasn’t stunning, in fact, it was quite the opposite. Titled “Holy Ghost”, the installation was almost certainly intended to use the lighting to create the atmosphere of a haunting. Fixed to the wall behind the head of the table was a fist clutching a stone that emitted a gentle yellow glow. Behind the table was a cross of contrasting, very white, fluorescent light. A Ouija board would not have been out of place in this handsome hipster gothic offering next to the goblet-like glassware and thick decanters. It was definitely the details, such as the salt and pepper presented on a plate, that made “Holy Ghost” stand out from the rest of the tables at the event.


All in all, there were ten absolutely stunning, unique tablescapes set up in under 24-hours by some of the province’s most talented designers and artists. Guests were treated to a truly unique dining experience and both money and awareness were raised for a foundation that truly deserves both. Here’s to many more Dinner by Design events in the coming years!

Tyson Villeneuve of The Social Concierge sincerely thanking the guests for their generosity.

Tyson Villeneuve of The Social Concierge sincerely thanking the guests for their generosity (and make sure to check out our interview with Tyson.)

Geoffrey Murie
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Originally educated in business management but passionate about the Internet, Geoff left his job in business to start a company with partner Ryan Clark in 2008. Geoff appreciates timeless quality and uniqueness in his luxury goods and doesn't so much care for tacky, trendy goods. He loves watches, cars and various methods of flight. If you want to pry a little bit into his life, check out this and this twitter account.