A week or so ago, we produced one of the most glamorous evenings I can remember in a long, long time in New York City. Honoring the actor Tom Hanks, the Film Society held it’s very first fundraising Gala at the brand new, sparkling Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, and the evening was electric. Needless to say, Mr. Hanks is quite popular and many of his buddies – Julia Roberts, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Sally Field, Charlize Theron, John Leguiziamo, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Bruce Springsteen, Jonathan Demme, as well as many, many others came out to lift a glass to the veteran actor.
Alice Tully Hall reopened with this glamorous new face lift by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and what a gorgeous place it is for an event!
From a design standpoint, of course, we wanted the dinner to be special and ultra chic for this momentous occasion, but also be RIGHT for our times. That is a tricky line to walk these days, friends. As I have espoused before, no one should EVER walk in to an event and say, “Oh my!!! Look how much they've spent!!!” To create a décor that felt right for The Film Society (and our times), we utilized the actual stuff that movies used to be made of: FILM. Actual film.
The movie studios were very generous, donating reel upon reel of archived footage that was destined for the trash. Since the new lobby space, designed by the architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is such a stunner, the space did not need a lot to bring it to life. Rather, we focused on key design elements. Instead of floral centerpieces, mysteriously glowing lucite cubes were filled with elegant tangles of film. Additionally, a grand table lamp, also filled with film, presided over the room from the built-in bar and provided the grand element of scale that the room required.
The magic of these centerpieces kicked in when hidden LED lights beneath the translucent topped tables were turned on, their glow perfectly framed to match the dimensions of the plexi box above. The lights scrolled through a rainbow of hues throughout the evening. The look was ever-changing, giving an other-worldly glow to the tangles of film and the room.
Hidden LED lights illuminated the lamp base and its internal tangles of film while the drum shade above was illuminated by more traditional glass bulbs.
The guests I spoke with played “Name That Film,” while table hopping. "Was it Deep Throat?,” someone joked at one? Or “Tootsie” at another? It’s funny. When working with the rolls of film, I saw it simply as an evocative “material.” It did not occur to me to think about the film as “content” as well. When on stage, Mr. Hanks had revealed that he cut a souvenir from his centerpiece (about four to six inches of film), pulled it from his breast pocket, and upon showing it to the audience, he began to espouse on the emotional meaning of film to him. One could look at film as BOTH a material like any other, or as a bearer of content, and this double meaning is what we always strive for in our art making.
Congratulations Mr. Hanks and the The Film Society. We were VERY happy to be there to help celebrate your big day!