Monthly Archives: May 2013

Catching up with David Stark: the event planner extraordinaire on his new book

David StarkCatching up with David Stark: the event planner extraordinaire on his new book
By Neesha Arter

Last Tuesday night, on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman, NYC’s leading event designer David Stark not only launched his new book, The Art of the Party, but also launched his signature paper décor line, sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman. Linda Fargo, Lizzie Tisch and other guests sipped cocktails and enjoyed the sounds of Avalon Jazz Band while getting their copies of The Art of the Party signed. Stark is one of the most sought-after event designers in the country, having designed for the Whitney Museum, the Joyful Heart Foundation and the Metropolitan Opera. The CEO and President of David Stark Design and Production talked to SCENE about his new line, new book, and what he has up his sleeve for the rest of the year.

You’re releasing your fifth book, The Art of the Party, which focuses more on the process of your events instead of the final product. How did you come up with this focus after having four books published?
You know, I always say to our clients, “Of course, the party needs to be special, fabulous, fun, exciting – all of the things that a party needs to be and more, but the journey to get there is just as important as the end product.” We take the service aspect of what we do at David Stark Design really seriously, and the photos show just how rousing, and action-packed a team sport event preparation really is.

What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to the publishing industry? 
Now that is a loaded question! Sure, the reality is that the digital world is giving the bookstore a really good run for its money, but I still believe that there will always be great love for a beautiful book, the object of a book.

You are also launching a signature paper décor line exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman. How did you decide to partner with them? 
I have long been a fan of EVERYTHING that Bergdorf Goodman stands for. From their mind-blowing window displays that have long been an inspiration to me, to the stores’ embrace of forward thinking design. The 7th floor has always showcased exquisite, hand-made art pieces and I am honored to be included within that roster.

How did you develop the concept for this line? 
We started making hand-made, paper pieces as décor elements for events a couple of years back. The guests and our clients were so taken by them that requests poured in for us to create more works independent from the events we design. We’re excited to share the new pieces, making them available exclusively through Bergdorf Goodman.

At what type of event do you suggest New Yorkers to use the Paper Tale pieces? 
The pieces make wonderful displays on buffet tables, on fireplace mantles and sideboards for parties at home–they are wonderful conversation starters! The smaller pieces even make wonderful centerpieces on dining tables. I am excited because they all contain the charm, surprise, and magic that appeal to children, but they are so exquisitely made with the finest craftsmanship that they are serious adult statements too. It’s wonderful to own art pieces that can enhance your home and world every day but provide built-in décor for your next party.

What are three things every aspiring designer/artist in New York City needs?
Passion, fortitude, and commitment. New York is a wonderful place, but a hard place. If you work really, really hard and give your dream your ALL, you can totally make magic. There are so many artists who are the New York dream that have spurred me on over the years. They are the examples that everything is possible and more.

What do you have up your sleeve for the rest of the year? 
We have amazing event projects we are working on–from very special weddings to product launches and Museum galas, and I am getting my toes wet creating a collection of ceramic tableware. Knock on wood, that all works out, as that would be really GREAT fun.

Published in SCENE Magazine

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David Stark on Home Entertaining and Design in Brooklyn Magazine/ The L Magazine


David Stark on Home Entertaining and Design
By Neesha Arter

Designer David Stark is not only one of the most renowned event producers in New York City, he’s also a contributing editor to Martha Stewart Weddings‬ and the creative force behind both the Whitney Museum Gala and WWD’s 100th Anniversary event. Out of the twenty-one years Stark has spent in New York City, Brooklyn has been his home for nineteen of them. Stark grew up in Princeton, New Jersey before attending RISD and eventually arriving at SVA for graduate school, and has since dabbled in all facets of design and entertainment. He has even seen a career as an accomplished author, with his fifth book, The Art of the Party, coming out this month.

Stark originally moved to his current building in Brooklyn for the residential space but it soon became more of a workplace. Eventually buying the building, ‘David Stark Design and Production’ is now where his apartment and studio are. The combination of the two blur the lines between his home and his career but ultimately, it all remains his art.

Stark is proud to call Brooklyn home, as it is an excellent place for creative types while simultaneously containing the same highlights of Manhattan. He sees Brooklyn as a series of vibrant neighborhoods with a huge range of cultures. ‪There is a fusion of people from all different walks of life, great food, beauty, and tradition, but it is also ever-so-slightly removed, giving it a sense of calm.

With The Art of the Party launching at Bergdorf Goodman, it’s clear the creativity of David Stark is endless. In his new book, he takes a closer look at the process of these spectacular events—after all, Stark’s name may be on the door, but he credits his many essential team members in pulling it all off. His motto? “If the party is the feature film, then the invitation is the coming attraction.” Whether it’s entertaining at home or an event at the MOMA, Stark’s magic touch is what makes every occasion feel like once-in-a-lifetime events.

David Stark’s Essential Home Entertaining Resources

One of the things that I love about my hoods—Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Boerum Hill—is that, here, we can shop the old fashioned way. Residents can easily go to the butcher for meat, the green grocer for produce, the bakery for bread . . . it’s like the neighborhood itself is a supermarket! There are truly exceptional food options abounding.

Here are some of my picks for food and more for a dinner with friends at home.

1) Staubitz Market is an iconic butcher’s shop. It carries exceptional cuts and the staff is amazingly helpful.
Staubitz Market; 222 Court Street, Carroll Gardens

2) Sahadi’s is the famous Middle Eastern specialty store on Atlantic Avenue that opened in 1948, long before there were fancy food shops like Dean & Deluca.This is an incredible place for snack foods—their olives, nuts, dried fruits, and candy sections are unparalleled. They also have an incredible cheese section. If I don’t have time to cook, this is one of my go-to spots because their prepared foods are so good. Everything from the hummus to grape leaves and spinach and other vegetable pies are so amazing that you can totally pull off a fabulous dinner or cocktail party in a one-stop shop and it all tastes home-made, because it is.

Sahadi’s; 187 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill

3) In a neighborhood filled with fine Italian grocery establishments, who has the best fresh mozzarella? Caputo’s Fine Foods. They also have fantastic fresh and dried homemade pastas and biscotti.

Caputo’s Fine Foods; 460 Court St, Carroll Gardens

4) Smith & Vine is a friendly neighborhood wine shop that really knows its stuff and has plenty of affordable options as well as those special occasion splurge choices. I buy cases here for parties at my house and always ask their advice on what to get. They’re always right.

Smith & Vine; 268 Smith Street, Cobble Hill

5) GRDN is a chic shop and garden center that has fantastic plants as well as excellent tableware and napkins. I often grab potted flowering plants and herbs for the table instead of cut flowers so that after the dinner party I can keep enjoying the plants as they grow. They also have excellent containers at GRDN.

GRDN; 103 Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill

6) Red Hook has many quirky charms, one of them being Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. That’s what they make: Key Lime Pies, and they are an instant hit for dessert.

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie; 204 Van Dyke St, Red Hook

7) We are also blessed with a very fine and fun bakery in Red Hood, BAKED. Martha Stewart and I share the same favorite cake, their sweet and salty chocolate, caramel, sea salt number.

BAKED; 359 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook

8) Where do I get my table cloths? Mazzone True Value Hardware! Canvas paint drop cloths are ALSO the perfect dining table cloth.

Mazzone Hardware; 470 Court Street, Carroll Gardens

Follow Neesha Arter on twitter @neeshaarter

Published in Brooklyn Magazine and The L Magazine

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