DIFFA’s Dining By Design 2010


Last night was the gala dinner for the tenth anniversary of DIFFA’s Dining By Design in San Francisco. And it was the first time I got to put oversized sparkling rocks in my earlobes and go to the dinner myself (in years past I’ve been relegated to the Table Hop only), and it was something like graduating from the kids’ table to the grown-up table. And what a table it was! Architect John Lum designed the cardboard “Dining Womb” to be an escape from the madness outside. Made completely of laser-cut sheets of packing cardboard set into plywood combs, the Zen-like tunnel sat 20, glowed softly with unobtrusive lighting, sprouted with ethereal air plants from Flora Grubb Gardens and provided a pleasantly filtered view of the action beyond our intimate little dinner party.

Because I was the freshman at this shindig, I was promptly told it was my duty to slide into the center of the table, where, once the rest of the guests filled in, bathroom breaks or mid-dinner strolls to the bar were out of the question. But it turned out to be the best seat in the house, as I sidled up next to Lum himself and got to hear all about his inspiration, design process and overall satisfaction with the finished product (as well as some juicy stories about his former life working in fashion in Florence). His goal to create a space that upped the intimacy level at a dinner party—made up of many who were meeting that night for the first time—was flawlessly executed. And who knew cardboard could be so comfy? 


Although the hustle and bustle of the night was refreshingly muffled during dinner, I did have a chance to walk through the SFDC Galleria and check out all of the other tables before dinner began. Once again, the creativity behind many of the installations made for a fabulous event. Here are just a few of my favorites. 

The teepee by Gensler and Haworth was sheathed in photo slides.

Steven Miller had a handle on his exotic feathered centerpiece at Tibotec Therapeutics table.

Adeeni Design Group’s sea-inspired table for Poggenpohl slid open with the grace of a glacier (and at the push of a button).

Hart-Howerton helped Exquisite Surfaces wow diners with this gorgeous beaded chandelier.

Local favorite Gary Spain designed Restoration Hardware’s table, complete with custom rope lights. 


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