The party on a painting.
By: Drew McConnell
When Tablescape 001 came to an end, the tablecloth we dined on was rolled up and stored away. When it came time for Tablescape 002, I rolled it out flat and created an original painting across the table span, designed to split the table into a giant triptych. The idea of dining atop a work that would normally hang pristine on a wall was compelling-- a visceral symbol of never taking anything too seriously and reveling in the spills that come from the aftermath of a table well-used. It's a painting that now has a life most never live. Stains and scuffs-- all of them making it more beautiful than without. So with that:
Welcome to the Triptych. One table comprised of three worlds that span different times, tones, and occasions for hosting. It's everything from the brightest bistro to the darkest bar with an aperitivo hour in between.
The first world is set on the cream side of the painting because it is cream. The cream on your strawberries that've been soaked in Grand Marnier and the crème fraîche aromas so thick you can taste them in your glass of crémant. It's everything bright and light. It's a brunch lovers' dreamscape of Wes Anderson-esque pastel pinks and greens that feels at home in either a French OR English garden-- whichever you prefer. It's effervescence personified and spritz-infused and it's our Curator, Emily's entire world.
Middle. Medium. Wood Panelling. The world of "between" is often looked at as the transition rather than the destination. It's both. It's golden and rich. It's coppers and oranges and the 60's becoming the 70's and most importantly: it's pregaming and drinks at dusk. It's my favorite time to host because it's entirely additive: I can create the main attraction where no one expects one-- after all, the concert isn't until 10. The middle is the place hugged by the obvious, and it feels warmer because of it.
The last third: dark. transgressive. It's the scene in True Lies when Jamie Lee Curtis tears off her sleeves and the bottom of her dress, puts on a red lip, and dumps a flower vase of water into her hands so she can slick back her hair. It's the dark bar with a library of bottles behind the bartender. It makes me feel like a coven could walk in at any moment and say that I'm in their corner booth. It's the nighttime party that leans so far into your collection of amaros and vermouths that you're sure they'll all be empty by morning. And it's also the perfect time for the Salmon Caviars and Brûléed Oranges to come out and act as the jewels to simple dishes that don't feel so simple anymore. It's the sense that anything's possible as long as it's candlelit and salted. If there's a part of the table that appeals to me the most-- it's this one.