Lessons learned from Shaun and Dickson’s dark dinner party.
1. Employ asymmetry to create a loose and uncontrived look, especially when working with formal black and/or white settings. This table’s unstructured centerpiece and single candelabrum foster the evening’s casual, laid-back style. To insure that a centerpiece doesn’t block views or conversation, employ Dickson’s test: Place your elbow on the table with your hand in a fist. Nothing should extend above your fist.
2. People want a cleaner palette of food and decorations following the holiday season’s excess and pageantry. Here, simply folded napkins add flair to the table without introducing any fuss. “When designing a dinner party, start with the table. Its length and shape gives you the parameters for the number of settings and the shape of the centerpiece,” Dickson says.
3. Don’t be intimidated by black. With the right styling, it can lose its dark and somber edge. It can also inspire everything from the centerpiece’s flowers to the color and presentation of the food, like that of Cuisine Unlimited’s artfully plated main course.
4. Start by establishing a theme or style for the party and use it to guide every decision. Here, the goal to create a moody, modern and organic look inspired everything from dark linens and tableware to a bundt cake staged atop a pillar of stained wood.
written by: Brad Mee
photos by: Lindsey Shaun

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