by Marisa Marcantonio

There's always room for more beauty in the world, as the splendorous Orchid-filled tables at the

New York Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Dinner proved.  More than 25 designers worked their floral magic again this year, at the Veranda Magazine-sponsored event, creating visions of Key West Contemporary to kick off the 12th Annual Orchid Show. Funds raised from the evening and the sale of rare Orchids go towards Orchid research at the Botanic Garden. What is more glorious than seeing masses of orchids imagined in a variety of fantastical settings? From monochromatic palettes to a fruity-colored mix, the tables tapped a tropical vibe. The designs were a bit tamer than in years past ie, not as enormous in scale, but as usual this event is a delight for the eyes. Even more breathtaking in person, this will give you a sense of the creative botanic artistry that went on this year. Be sure to visit the NYBG Orchid Show which is on till April 20th, it provides another Orchid gazing opportunity that should not be missed.

Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell

A ring of fuchsia orchids were suspended above the Robert Couturier-designed  table in an act of suspended disbelief.

 Danielle Rollins, a talented new addition this year, created a bright, multicolored ethnic global-inspired setting.

She used wonderful embroidered napkins and one of my favorite Schumacher classics on the chairs, a multicolored ikat.

Stephen Elrod, creative director of Brunschwig and Fils went bold with turquoise, hot pink and acid green pairing a floral printed skirt and striped chair covers.

Capturing the essence of Hemingway's Key West,  a signpost that was tangled up in orchids.

Staying on message with some of Papa Hemingway classics strewn about.

With a little razzmatazz and a lot of color, Cullman and Kravis created a party-ready mood with their tiki hut table topper.

 A riot of color, the china matched the flowers in their brilliance.

A geometric box balanced on an angle rose out of a low arrangement at David Easton's stunning table design.

I have to say, Phillip Gorrivan won the prize for most height and drama- his towering lacquer white urn rose towards the sky. The palm leaves and orchids took it even higher. It was really something.

A charming low green arrangement by Magnafloral in a white vessel was understated chic.

Pastel blues and yellows provided the backdrop for draping fronds and acid green orchids by Sherrill Canet.

Shawn Henderson's centerpiece was inspired by the Florida work of prominent modernist of the 1960's, Paul Rudolph, and his custom plaster piece features a concrete ball suspended from a rope. Very minimal and chic.

 A veritable tropical jungle!

Alison Spear for Arquitectonica Interiors showcased their wallpapers in place of a fabric tablecloth.

SOLD! The rare Orchids were sold out in the blink of an eye.


by Marisa Marcantonio

As I peruse the Gift Show, now called New York Now, I am struck by how many throws and cutting boards I am seeing. As random as that sounds, I guess it is because staying cozy and entertaining at home are still very popular activities. So stay in and nest. With more snow coming, it might be just what the Dr. ordered.

 Photos courtesy of Bower

Shape Boards, reversible wooden cutting boards from New York-based company Bower, have a graphic 3D pop of geometric color (painted in non-toxic paint) on one side and solid wood on the back and can be hung from the wall when not in use.

 For easy hanging, they have created instant art.

I am so taken with this version in red and turquoise. These have cool museum store written all over them, so I hope the curators of cool see them. 

Brooklyn-based artist Kim Tyler has created special throws with strong graphic elements as appealing as modern art. Inspired by the works of Bauhaus masters Anni and Josef Albers as well as Elsworth Kelly, the linear designs on soft goods has an artistic appeal.  Squares 1 above, of a boucle wool yarn and polymide for give, features a black and blue design against a grey ground.

Rectangles B, made of a heavy weight Italian wool and cashmere blend looks as alluring as a wall hanging as it does on a sofa back.

Photo courtesy of Johanna Howard

Johanna Howard, her first time out at the gift show as new designer created these wonderfully soft woven Alpaca throws.  Called Stockholm, the triangular design is bound by a thick stripe edge.

 Photo courtesy of Zuzunaga

Made to resemble pixels, British company Zuzunaga takes its inspiration from the digital age. From the Bitmap Collection of cotton and nylon knit throws, Labrynth is shown in deep orange with turquoise.

 Barcelona, another intricately patterned pixel-inspired pattern. I love their modern sensibility translated into an age old craft.

From the hand woven collection, the bright multicolored Squares throw is made in Spain out of 100% ecological Merino Wool.

The red marled color and deep green border on the Feeling Throw remind me of a watermelon.