More than 150 guests gathered at the Hearst Tower in Manhattan last night to celebrate the latest and greatest in architecture, culture, and design at the LongHouse Winter Benefit followed by a gala dinner at the American Irish Historical Society mansion. This year, event organizers honored Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen for her work as a champion of design, along with furniture designer and master artisan Joseph Walsh.
The annual winter benefit provides an opportunity to recognize talent and raise money for LongHouse Reserve—a 16-acre reserve and sculpture garden in East Hampton. This year’s event, which spotlighted the honorees’ unwavering commitment to the community at large, brought in more than $160,000. The award ceremony got under way as the well-heeled crowd of notable designers, architects, and students from New York School of Interior Design traded their cocktail glasses for seats in the Hearst theater. Then Calvin Tsao, co-founder of TsAO & McKown and Hall of Fame inductee, and Robert Taubman, president and CEO of Taubman, introduced Allen and Walsh, respectively.
In detailing Allen’s accolades, Tsao pointed out the impact she has had on his career, personally. “Being inducted into the Hall of Fame changed the way people look at us, and the way we see ourselves,” he said of his firm. “Cindy helps create a unified presence to show the world why design matters.” That was her cue to take the stage and, in doing so, Allen divulged that while she often has the pleasure of presenting awards to others, it is “an honor” to be on the receiving end.
“I have 250 issues [of Interior Design] under my belt, and I’m still as invested and engaged and excited to learn as the first time,” she noted. Throughout her remarks, Allen touched on many of the magazine’s historic milestones, stressing the importance of positivity, openness, and community. “Be good, it is a position of strength,” she said. “Our communities local or global are built on this currency.”
Following Allen’s remarks, Taubman outlined Walsh’s impressive professional journey, stemming from his first hand-crafted dresser made at the age of 12. Walsh, who founded a design studio and workshop in Riverstick, County Cork, Ireland, echoed Allen’s sentiment regarding the importance of community and mentorship. “The thing that has had the biggest impact on my work is people,” he said, after describing the lasting impact Jack Lenor Larsen, founder and artistic director of LongHouse Reserve, had on his own career trajectory.
Though Larsen was unable to attend the event, his presence was felt by all. “Jack hand-picked Cindy and Joseph, so for him to have a cold tonight is so unfortunate,” said Dianne Benson, president of LongHouse Reserve. Following the reception, guests continued the festivities at the gala dinner, complete with a bagpipe performance.