One look at his interactive website, and you can tell that event designer David Stark has an affinity for slightly off-kilter whimsy. With clients ranging from the New York Metropolitan Opera to Louis Vuitton, David's knack for creating experiential art through well-executed events is appreciated throughout the world. With his newest tome David Stark: The Art of The Party available now for pre-order, we jumped at the chance to chat with him about some of his favorite things.
We're happy to present a post from designer David Stark!
Each year, we look forward to kicking off the spring gala season with New Yorkers For Children’s A Fool’s Fête, definitely one of New York City’s most glamorous evenings! So often we wrack our brains to come up with a conceptual decor idea that relates to a foundation’s mission, but sometimes the goal is to just be . . . beautiful.
An Indian-inspired fantasy of blazing color and hypnotic pattern filled the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel last year, and since surprise is the name of our game, we swung the pendulum to the other extreme this year, creating a palette cleanse of pure whites, a sea of glimmering candlelight, and a vast canopy of delicate but arresting cherry blossoms. This party didn’t need tons of small bouquets. Rather, the branches became the glorious new architecture of the space, dramatic in repetition.
All photos by Susan Montagna
I love a great conceptual pop-up shop, and David Stark and interior designer Nina Freudenberger are collaborating on a really fun one for February with WOOD SHOP. From Feb. 3-27, Stark will transform Freudenberger's Haus Interior in New York City into a concept shop, WOOD SHOP. Featuring a limited-edition David Stark Design product line, everything at WOOD SHOP will also be available online through the Haus Interior website. Including everything from cards to home decor to adorable Valentine's Day gifts, you can find something within your budget, with prices ranging from $5 to $500.
I recently interviewed both David and Nina about the collaboration. Keep reading for a look at the pop-up shop's goods and to hear what each has to say about WOOD SHOP.
I'm excited to present a post from guest writer David Stark!
Recently we produced a video, shot in our Brooklyn studio for the amazingly talented singer Migguel Anggelo, and the title cut from his new CD Donde Estara Matisse. This short film was created by the stylist and artist Helen Quinn, and Helen brilliantly combines stop-motion animation with live action to create a fantasy walk inside a Matisse painting. The artist sings (in Spanish), looking high and low for the iconic French painter, and I have been trapped inside this painted world since. You can watch the video "Donde Estara Matisse" here.
I would love to live in a painted world like this and am now seeing items for the home that would certainly be fitting there too. It’s fun to imagine how to decorate a home in that context. Here are some ideas if you live inside a painting or are similarly inspired by the artist’s painted touch.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to showcase your love of tablescape decor. I was curious to see what was on David Stark's radar this year, and he created a truly modern and elegant tablescape with a minimalist palette. Take it away, David!
Here are some pieces that I like for this Thanksgiving — all coming from the premise that the Thanksgiving table does not need to be a “harvest” table of classic autumnal reds, golds, and oranges in the classic Pilgrim sense. Rather, deep blacks and soft whites paired with natural woods and hand-made ceramics take rustic to a new level of sophistication.
We're happy to present a post from designer guest writer David Stark.
Most of the time, the sexy photos of events capture the exact moment when the lights are set, the candles are lit, everything is in place, and the glamorous people have arrived, but sometimes it is fun to “look under the hood” and check out the process of the installation.
Keep reading to learn more about this installation!
All photos by Susan Montagna
Here's a post from designer guest writer David Stark.
New Yorkers for Children always kicks off the Fall gala season with their very chic evening each September, and we have had the honor of collaborating with them for many years now. It’s always been important for the evening to be glamorous, but in recent years, it has been critical to infuse beauty with meaning. How do we do that, you might ask?
We look for metaphor. When we sit down with the committee in the early spring for our first brainstorm on the gala, the goal is to find an overarching message. We literally banter around the table, tossing out words and phrases that inspire, try to peg our words to images, and search for a statement that feels like a call to arms, that is proactive, rather than something that is merely a statement. We look for a phrase that can both inspire and encapsulate the meaning of what the evening is about.
Case in point, the gang at New Yorkers brilliantly provides the resources and support necessary for foster kids to make the dream of a college education a reality (and so much more!), so our evening’s theme, “Launch a Star,” is both visually rich and conceptually strong. We looked to books like The Little Prince and Good Night Moon for visual inspiration as well as the romantic street scenes of the film Cinema Paradiso, and we turned Cipriani 42nd Street into a moonlit garden with a million twinkling stars, strings of vintage glowing bulbs festooned above, a grand entry moment with clouds, stars and a symbolic ladder to climb up, up, and up, and plush gardens of the most perfect blooms everywhere.
Our sincere congratulations to our friends at New Yorkers for Children for an amazing evening — we love our partnership with you and are honored to keep growing creatively each year together.
For more photographs, check out David Stark's blog.
Photos courtesy Susie Montagna
Earlier today, I shared the first post from our guest writer David Stark. In the post, David talked about his recent collaboration with Mariska Hargitay and the team at her Joyful Heart Foundation, in which he designed the décor of the foundation's annual fundraising gala in New York City. Take a look at some of David's stunning designs from the event, and read some of David's thoughts about the event and décor.
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.
What's not to love about David Stark? This author, designer, and party planner is renowned for his innovative use of everyday materials — give the man some cardboard boxes and paper, and he'll turn them into a magical landscape. Recently, I've been a little obsessed with his new West Elm collection, which uses simple and eco materials to beautiful effect. Last week, David Stark shared his eco decorating ideas with us. This week, he's back with some great wedding décor ideas — including his advice for the royal couple's wedding must haves! Keep reading for more inspiration.