Spring Fling in Design

Spring Fling in Design

My amazing two day design escapade: Design on a Dime, The Cloisters and Sleep No More

Last fall, I was the lucky winner of the Weekend in Manhattan Grand Prize at the Voices Against Brain Cancer Walk. I decided to book the apartment during the week to easily attend some events taking place and to get a feel of city living on a weekday, as this is something my husband and I talk about frequently “when the kids are grown.”


The studio apartment was in a lovely, quiet residential area, donated by Taylormade, had breathtaking views and was definitely added to my bucket list.


First stop: Design on a Dime

Housing Works celebrated the 10th anniversary of New York City’s most popular interior design benefit, Design on a Dime. Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, the 3-day event features more than 50 of the world’s top interior designers, who create unforgettable room vignettes with new merchandise, which is donated and then sold for 50 to 70 percent off retail pricing.”

This event attracts a star-studded crowd, where the Opening Night Reception is celebrated with hundreds of VIPs, designers, and friends of Housing Works. A-list design enthusiasts mingled with top designers, including event chairs. Here, we got the the first  look at the room vignettes and enjoyed exclusive preview shopping, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment. Unfortunately everything I wanted to purchase had a “sold” sign on it so the obvious key is to get there at the very start of the event. I did, however, manage to score a lovely small glass bowl that is now sitting pretty on my cocktail table.


The vignettes were beautiful, creative and true bargains could be found in all of them.  People shopped with frenzy and excitement, and the rooms that were “ripped apart” the most were the ones that had the most sales. It was great catching up with the IFDANY ladies and to celebrate the talent displayed in Tamara Stevenson’s room (hers by the way, was dissembled immediately!)



IMG_4858Co-chair George Oliphant and Frank Ott

Day 2: The Cloisters

Living in New York all my life, I cannot believe I have never been to The Cloisters!  A perfect day at 71 degrees, the walk through Fort Tryron Park was fragrant and alive with trees beginning to blossom.


The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.  John D. Rockefeller Jr. generously provided for the building. The setting is magnificent!  High on a hilltop looking over the Hudson River, The Cloisters is designed in a style to evoke medieval architecture and compliment the vast collection of sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, paintings, furniture and manuscripts it houses. The gardens feature medieval plantings of trees, flowers and herbs to further enhance the medieval environment.


Last stop: Sleep No More

Last stop on our Spring Fling of Design was the interactive play, Sleep No More. Created by the British theatre company Punchdrunk, I include this in the category of design because of the incredible imaginative setting and the creativity that went into designing this production to be an authentic experience.


“Sleep No More is set in a building with five floors of theatrical action, putatively called the McKittrick Hotel, though with many rooms and features not normally associated with hotels, including those which resemble an antiquated lunatic asylum, doctor’s offices, children’s bedrooms, a cemetery, indoor courtyards, shops, a padded cell, a ballroom, taxidermist’s menageries, and so on. The actors and their environment all adopt the dress, decor, and aesthetic style of the early 20th century, inspired by the shadowy and anxious atmosphere of film noir. The production “leads its audience on a merry, macabre chase up and down stairs, and through minimally illuminated, furniture-cluttered rooms and corridors.” Audience members begin their journey in a fully operational lounge, the Manderley Bar, from which they enter an elevator that transports them to the major floors of the “hotel.”

Sleep No More tells the story of Macbeth, though the audience is given no programme and there is no speaking from either the actors or audience. The actors (unlike the audience members) wear no masks and perform in passionate, silent, interpretive group settings, solitary scenes, and, sometimes, dance sequences. Audience members are instructed to remain silent and masked at all times once they have boarded the hotel’s elevator up until the time they return to the Manderley Bar; however, they may move freely at their own pace for up to three hours, choosing where to go and what to see, so that everyone’s journey is unique; they may also exit the premises at any point. Audience members may thus follow one or any of the actors throughout the performance, or they may independently explore the many rooms of the building; in groups or alone. Recorded music plays steadily throughout the building at all times.” – Wikipedia


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