(Photos, left to right: Patrick McMullan Company and UnBeige)
David Stark has long been the go-to event designer for the Cooper-Hewitt’s annual National Design Awards gala. In recent years, he and his team have transformed everyday objects—from cushions to cocktail napkins—into colorful tableaux that popped against the walls of the white tent pitched in the museum’s courtyard. This year, with the museum in the throes of a massive renovation, the gala was moved to Cipriani 42nd Street, a York & Sawyer-designed bank turned cavernous, landmarked event space. Even with a 65-foot ceiling to contend with, Stark rose to the challenge, creating bold and graphic decor inspired by the awards program’s tenth anniversary.
To make the designers the stars of the evening, Stark designed a series of graphic patterns from the names of past National Design Award winners. Set in white all-caps Futura on the NDA’s signature cyan, the text patterns made for a striking contrast with Cipriani’s Corinthian columns, inlaid floors, and soaring, Wedgewood-domed ceiling. “The important thing is always to create elements of scale that relate to the room you’re in,” Stark told us. “Much like we’ve done at the tented venue, we played with scale by creating entry and ceiling decor elements like the fourteen-foot ’10’ at the entrance and eight-foot drumshades suspended from the ceiling. On each, the pattern was exploded to various scales so the typography can be admired for its shape as well as its message, and provide interplay with the elaborate background of the space.”