Here's a post from designer guest writer David Stark.
Of course, I am attracted to beauty. I am really thrilled, though, when design is infused with emotion and genuine meaning. Case in point, recently we collaborated with Mariska Hargitay and the whole dream team at her Joyful Heart Foundation to bring the purpose of the foundation’s work to life in the décor of their annual fundraising gala in New York City. That’s not an easy task when the mission of the organization is "to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and shed lightness into the darkness that surrounds these issues."
How did we do it? We started by crafting a mantra for the night: “How Will You Join The Joyful Revolution” became our drum beat, looking to what each of us has done in the year prior to “collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse,” and we created sculptures for each of the dining tables that were poignant metaphors. All stemming from journals on whose pages the horrors, joys, reliefs and anxieties of the victims of abuse were symbolically spelled out, the sculptures walked the line between being sensitively gorgeous and emotionally charged. Within each sculpture, a varying answer to “How Will You Join . . . “ was written in the open diary. With responses like, “I listened,” “I sang a song,” “I spoke up,” “I held her hand,” the visuals became emotionally charged poetry.
One of the pieces I am most proud of, we created a giant, three dimensional heart out of rape kit boxes to shine the spotlight on the horror of the rape kit backlog, an epidemic where untested evidence leaves thousands of rape cases unsolved. On first glance, this is a cool, pixelated heart, but on second glance . . .
That is the line that I always want our decorative work to walk. I want the double take. The beauty draws you in, but it is the meaning that you leave within your mind and heart. Thank you to my friends at the Joyful Heart Foundation for the important work they do and for the opportunity and creative challenge to be part of it. How did we join? We made art.