On the heels of W’s Saturday night party at MoMA to celebrate the opening of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the assembled luminaries of global design made their way yesterday to a hazy, lazy part of Manhattan—midtown on a Sunday night—for cocktails and dinner hosted by Stefano Tonchi and W for renowned Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola.
The setting: The spacious atrium of the still-fresh New York City outpost of Nice’s legendary La Petite Maison, housed in the same Rockefeller townhouses on West 54th Street that once served as the home of Aquavit.
The menu: Zucchini-blossom beignets, a baby artichoke salad, salmon, branzino, and a leg of lamb with panisses—chickpea fries, a Nicoise staple—stacked like Bauhaus-inspired Lincoln Logs.
The guests: Marina Abramovic, Boffi’s Roberto Gavazzi, Moss founder Murray Moss, textile maestro Michael Maharam, and Luminaire’s Nasir Kassamali, among a couple dozen others. An exacting crowd, by definition: Kassamali took pains to note that the panisses, which seemed to fascinate the black-eyeglasses-centric designer crowd, should have been served with their outside edges flush, rather than staggered in their stacking—not to mention his blistering (but accurate) critique of the ribbing on the pitchers bringing water to the tables: “They obscure the clarity of the water, and serve no functional purpose!” There was, as you might expect, plenty of talk of Corbusier and the International style; less obvious were conversational detours into Botswana textiles and production (courtesy of Botswana native and designer Peter Mabeo) and the relative merits of the regional cuisines of Bologna versus Sicily (courtesy of Mutina president Massimo Orsini, who was surprisingly charitable given his Bolognese bona fides).
At a nearby table, Patrizia Moroso talked about her plans to visit the David Adjaye-designed Lindemann House (which you may remember from our recent story)—and told us, with no small amount of excitement, that Adjaye has just finished the plans for her new headquarters on the outskirts of Udine. Meanwhile, let the record state that when it came time for dessert, no one raised any objections regarding the functional purpose of the caramel flan.
Photos: Alexis Dahan