We are often invited to participate in designer challenges in which we design a 10’x10′ space or table any way we choose. The event is usually combined with a monthly meeting of our local NACE chapter (National Association of Catering Executives). To say that we enjoy these events is an understatement. There are no parameters or guidelines and we love seeing what other designers bring to the table (pun completely intended).
Because we are designing for an event attended by our peers, and we are designing against our peers, the bar always seem high for these events. It is important to find a concept that is a little out-of-the-box that is buzz-worthy. Sometimes finding the right idea takes weeks, sometimes you find one piece of decor that speaks to you and everything just falls into place. Thankfully, this is what happened with this challenge!
We fell in love with this jail door that actually is part of a western jail facade. Luckily the door is a separate piece and it became the main element in our “Orange is the New Black” design theme. Brushed aluminum walls mimicked the concrete walls of the cell and created the perimeter of our space while a single edison lightbulb hung in the center of the cell.
We added a tall brushed aluminum communal table that seated 8, brushed aluminum barstools and a plethora of orange floral pieces in concrete pots, silver urns and clear glass vessels, accented with silver mercury votives. Our place settings remained in theme with cafeteria trays we painted silver for the inmates and fine china for the warden and prison officers. Orange napkins were gathered inside one handcuff and placed neatly on the cafeteria tray. Place cards and the table number designator were adorned with a handcuff design as well.
We aren’t sure what was more rewarding – the positive feedback on the design, or the fact that many attendees used the jail door as a photo op. We love it when our designs are multi-purpose!