In November we sponsored and designed an event benefiting the School of American Ballet with proceeds going toward essential scholarship programs. Fund raising is always a challenge (especially these days), and we hate to see thousands of dollars spent on decor for a dinner when that money could be better put toward the cause at hand. So how does one create a smashing look on a shoestring? With a great concept, planning and plenty of hands on deck, anything is possible.
We began by looking at our design goal. The room itself had a wonderfully tall ceiling and windows looking out toward fantastic city views, but otherwise it made no statement. Essentially we were handed the perfect blank slate. To accentuate the soaring ceiling, we wanted tall elements in the room so when guests entered the space they had that Oooooo moment. On a more intimate level, we wanted each table to have a centerpiece that was flattering and attractive without getting in the way of socializing. Flowers weren’t an option given the limited budget, and the rental of some generic candelabra would have been a bore. Instead we set out to create something completely original, chic and surprising.
We decided to make lanterns using handmade paper, but how would we support them to be high enough that guests could see each other across the table? We needed a material that was structurally-sound, easy to put together and very inexpensive—or better yet, free. Our answer was branches. The effect ended up being both rustic and sophisticated—a perfect look for an autumn dinner.
Once lit, the lanterns created a dramatic overall effect while providing a soft glow on each table. With tablecloths in chocolate brown and golden delicious apples arranged geometrically at the center of the table, we had our look. The lanterns gave the room a wonderful ambience and a dramatic presence, while the apples supplied that essential element of appetizing freshness.
Of course, as with most events the décor is important, but the cause itself is of prime importance. In this case, after watching the young dancers perform, and hearing them speak of their experiences at the venerable School of American Ballet, it was very gratifying to know that we are playing a small part in helping them achieve their dream.
To see a step-by-step, illustrated description of how we created these lanterns, click here.