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DIFFA's Dining by Design 2011
Butterflies are free; tickets to the sold-out opening cocktail party for DIFFA's annual Dining By Design are not. Nor should they be, given that the proceeds benefit one of the nation's largest AIDS charities, providing funds for direct care for people living with AIDS/HIV, and preventive education. DIFFA stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, and it brings together members of the design community in fields such as interior design, architecture, fashion design, photography, and industrial design.
Each year, about 20 top designers and students from New York design programs volunteer their time creating dining vignettes for public visual consumption and for a formal seated dinner. Corporate sponsors ensure that vital funding continues. This year's sponsors included Kravet, Benjamin Moore, Scandia, the New York Design Center, Effen vodka, Coca Cola, and United Airlines. Designers and design firms included David Rockwell, Coffinier and Ku, Stefan Beckman, 2Michaels, Evie Warner, Arpad Baksa, Brad Ford, Donald and Katherine Lanziero, D'Apostrophe, Goil Amomvivat, and Karolyn McGee. On equal footing was work by students from Pratt and the New York School of Interior Design.
According to my inside source, the mood during set up was more upbeat and animated than last year, a sure sign of thaw in both the winter weather and design markets. The opening cocktail reception was crowded and festive, as guests ate and drank their way through the installations, devoting equal time to canapés and canopies.
Butterflies, incidentally, were featured at Goil Amornvivat's table. Dining by Design is open to the public through Monday, March 21, at Pier 94. No reservation required. DIFFA can be reached year-round at diffa.org for donations or to volunteer time.