Art of Dining takes event design to a new level, with over 40 of Australia’s leading artists, interior designers, architects, florists, stylists and other creatives coming together to create a truly remarkable event in the NGV’s Great Hall.
There were quite simply SO MANY incredible creations on show this year, by so many of our favourite designers… (Amanda Henderson of Gloss Creative, Simone Haag, Flack Studio, Hecker Guthrie, Martyn Thompson all the way back from New York… the list goes on and on and on!) It’s simply impossible to cover every detail. Instead, today we’re highlighting just two tables, which give just a taste of the incredible variety and visionary creative thinking for which this event has become known.
I was so lucky to sit on Adelaide Bragg’s table. Adelaide is one of Melbourne’s most respected interior designers (you might recall our recent story on her amazing studio), and her table really epitomises the classic, timeless interiors she for which she is so well known. Adelaide and her team created such a special atmosphere with a custom-made tent, decorated with Schumacher-striped ticking and matching upholstered chairs, Lewis & Wood wallpaper, bespoke lighting (even wired-up wall sconces?!) and tableware from Astier De Villatte in Paris (so fancy!).
‘We set out to create an intimate and cosy space – we wanted our world within our tent to be its own, our guests to be fully immersed in the experience,’ Adelaide explains. ‘Imagine an old European country estate, rolling hills and fields and forests, the light is low but the day still warm. You stroll through golden grass, deer’s graze, swallows dart about, in the distance, a warm glow draws you near. A tent, a table, old oak trees and merry tunes. An intimate feast awaits you.’
My favourite detail within this very special setting was the incredible gilt-frame style mirror and tie-back tassels, each handmade entirely using corrugated cardboard (!) by Sydney based maker Noelle Rigaudie. SO amazing!
A few tables away on the other side of the room, veteran Melbourne glass artist Mark Douglass responded to the brief in his own unique way, with a table dripping in handblown reflective glass and jewel-like details. This design, he explains, drew inspiration from the Great Hall’s distinctive stained glass ceiling.
‘I have always loved the coloured glass roof of the great hall, and been inspired by the height and grandeur of the scale, the colour and light through the glass of the ceiling,’ explains Marc, adding ‘The Great Hall reminds me of a modern cathedral’.
Also inspired by precious jewels, Mark reached out to jewellery designer Tanya Hamersfeld and her partner Leonard Hamersfeld, who supplied an amazing collection of precious stones: emeralds, and coloured sapphires in violet, topaz and aquamarine, which informed Mark’s colour palette and styling of the table.
The table incorporates a central ‘crown’ composition made of brass, with handblown glass details, that actually encapsulate the precious gems! ‘I wanted to create mystery around the gems, and display them at eye-level visible from all sides without a conventional setting,’ Mark explains. Alongside this extravagant centrepiece, Mark created a collection of handblown glassware and tableware in mirrored handblown coloured glass. (All the glassware will soon be available for sale at the NGV store).
Whilst the gala event is now over, the Art Of Dining tables are all on display in a ticketed public exhibition, just on today and tomorrow.
Art of Dining Ticketed Public Exhibition
Thursday, May 2nd to Friday, May 3rd
10am – 5pm
The Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Road