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NY Architects Raise $100,000 at Beaux Arts Ball

This year’s Beaux Arts Ball raised over $100,000 for the Architectural League of New York‘s many programs supporting local architecture, design, and urban planning. Over 1,350 attendees contributed to an evening of utter revelry and debauchery, a spectacle in every sense of the word.

The 2013 venue was Hunt & Hunt’s 69th Regiment Armory, currently celebrating the centennial of the infamous 1913 Armory show. The theme, and challenge, presented to guests was “—ISM.” Hundreds of architects and designers let their creativity flow as they dressed as “narcissism,” “fauvism,” “surrealism,” and even “prism.”

Nicholas Anderson, communications director at the Architectural League of New York, says, “The theme was inspired by the 1913 Armory Show. The exhibition was a great clash of intellectual ideas and artistic movements and was the first introduction of European Modernism, and all its sub –isms, to an American general audience. It caused quite the scandal at the time.”

Riffing on the assigned theme, Situ Studio in collaboration with Renfro Design Group created the event’s elaborate amalgamation of squares, triangles, and other shapes crafted out of electrical conduit and fire-retardant plastic sheeting. The form was suspended over the guests’ heads and lit in amber lighting.

Aleksey Lukyanov of Situ Studio says, “We wanted to experiment with structures and materials, developing a way to see objects in different perspectives. A major influence was Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. It is simultaneously static and dynamic,” he adds. The large-scale installation only took 2 weeks of production and 2 days of installation—quite a feat.

Processional Arts Workshop crafted the entertainment in the form of 10-foot-tall puppets and elaborate puppet costumes. (You may recognize their work from the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.) The graceful, though somewhat eerie, creatures seemed rooted in history—appropriate for an event inspired by jazz era Paris yet nonetheless overflowing with the energy and creativity of architecture today.