30 Mar Dining by Design: Fab Five Favs!

“It isn’t difficult to make a buck, but it’s tough to make a difference” -Tom Brokaw

DIFFA has done it again! Yet another year of tremendous success for DIFFA’s Dining by Design. An event held over the span of 5 days, raising an impressive $800,000 to fund HIV/AID education and prevention services across the country. We had the opportunity of speaking with Blane Charles, Design consultant at BCDC, about the excitement that surrounded his experience volunteering for the historic 20th anniversary of DIFFA National’s “Dining By Design  New York”, as well as his picks for “Fab Five Favs”!

DIFFA’s DINING BY DESIGN featured 30 over-the-top table installations by leading designers and brands such as Crate and Barrel, Ralph Lauren Home with support from lighting partner Visual Comfort & Co, and the Rockwell Group.

As a member of ACT-UP NY in the 80s, I was use to fighting as a AIDS activist, but after joining forces with DIFFA in 1989 for Suzanne Bartsch legendary “LOVE BALL” I learned that in the fight to uphold the dignity and preciousness of all Life I could also celebrate what makes us special. In March 2013 I had the honor of teaming up with my client and dear friend Charlene Keogh and Adeline Olmer to create “Dinner in le Boudoir de Madame.”

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Blane Charles with Madames Boudoir and Blane Charles featured in Peter Sterling PEOPLES MAGAZINE centerfold

In thinking of the progress we have made in the last 20 years of DINING BY DESIGN New York, I asked Johanna Osburn, Executive Director of DIFFA National, “7,300 days, Millions of dollars & Awareness raised… How do you keep the passion & sense of urgency alive, and keep yourself inspired?”

DIFFA’s ultimate goal is to raise funds and awareness to fight HIV/AIDS in the US.  Our events and special projects, like DINING BY DESIGN, give us a unique platform to highlight the creativity of the design community and shine a light on the cause, as so many of our dining installations do through powerful images and words.

 We are more than three decades into this effort and until there is an AIDS-free generation, and until we have stopped the transmission of new infections, there is urgent work for us to do.  Our grantees, who share stories of hope and progress from their clients, are what keeps us motivated.  When we visit their organizations and see the programs we help fund in action, we are inspired to dig deeper.

We love a fun event and we love bringing this community together, but the most important part is knowing we have a role in helping dozens of organizations work on education, prevention and care for those impacted by the HIV – they are why we continue and are compelled to do even more.”

Below are Blane’s “Fab Five Favs” installations!

Perkins + Will, Steelcase, Coalesse, Designtex, Empire Office & Arktura dramatized the impact of our human efforts to promote awareness and prevention with their pulley system. Two of the chandeliers were red symbolizing that one in eight people living with HIV do not know it. “Illumination is achieved through action.”

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Sunbrella / Coral & Tusk; Photographed by Alan Barry

Sunbrella collaborated with Coral & Tusk for a new line of high-performance, embroidered fabrics and accessories to create a dining experience on a western landscape celebrating the American Bison which once faced extinction celebrating the world of nature with an invitation in.

M Moser Associates “Race To Zero” brought use from our dark past and stereotypes connected with HIV/AIDS into our hope filled bright future. I was thrilled to see that my dear friend Scooter LaForge contributed the mannequin art sculpture.

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Design Within Reach designed by Language Dept.; Photographed by Alan Barry

Design Within Reach designed by Language Dept. took us into a grand terrarium to dine in a minimal and intimate setting with an atmosphere that blurred the lines between man made and natural.

Parsons The New School for Design highlighted our individuality united by the affect of HIV/AIDS with “Meal,” which was constructed with various found materials unified by one color.

About Blane Charles Design Consulting: BCDC highlights the importance of what and how we adorn our bodies and spaces to truly empower us to tap into our fullest potential as we go out into the world to shine a positive light.


Blane Charles:
Founder + President

Blane Charles Design Consulting
“Why just wear a diamond, when you can be one!”

blanecharles@gmail.com

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