When I first got the concept, speakeasy, my mind raced, smoky room, lots of rich dark colors, severe lighting, smoke, and SEX! I was thinking Cotton Club, Coppola-style. After speaking with the chefs and hearing their input, I really got a sense of what they wanted. Very different directions really. We didn't have a lot of time, so me and my team went into hyper gear. It was important for me to execute the Chef’s visions and not my own, but I wanted to make sure everything was expressed with my professional flair.
We really wanted the pinstripe table linen for Geoff to mirror all of the fashion from that speakeasy era, it adds that cool factor, some texture; masculine, and very hip. We had a lot of work to do on getting an outdoor area feeling indoor. How to keep it intimate and not feel breezy. Geoff was really literal and uber-masculine with his design sense…. I was trying to get Geoff to concentrate on the ambiance and overall feel of the room rather than on the tiny details such as the tiny Model T cars for the centerpiece! I wanted him to emotionally connect to the design rather than just map it out. In the end, I felt that he came full circle by using the old Prohibition liquor boxes, etc. I liked that Geoff had a bit of a sense of theatrics to his design though it was hard not to make it feel too much like a set rather than an intimate dining room because he was requesting so many props in his design concept.
I brought in awesome lighting that had flame tones in it so it created a bit of warmth in the room. We uplit the perimeter of the room in a deep lavender tone so the guests felt attractive and intimate. A great lighting tip is: use Flame (amber, orange, pink, red tones rather than Cold (blues, green tones) when entertaining. Flame tones resemble “soap opera” lighting and give a soft hue to people rather than concentrating on the harder lines of their faces. Using lavender for Geoff’s room was a nice compromise…
We also used copper accents in the pendant lighting and the votives on Geoff’s table which added a nice BLING element to a very masculine room. Every event needs a little bling.
Meanwhile in Chef JJ’s room, we were working hard to get the jazz feel; that hopping celebratory ambiance that people are just trying to get into!. Lots of rich colors, fire place, the old piano and of course that VIP satellite bar that only serves the finest of the fine. We wanted it to feel like the police would break up this party at any minute!
I liked that JJ focused upon flowers.. a lot of dudes don't.. I am not a huge fan of mixing Red and White as he requested so, I just rocked out elegant low arrangements consisting of mini White Calla Lilies in Square Black Vases which mixed in a nice masculine element. I got away with this, he really liked it in the end.
I loved that JJ spoke constantly of how he wanted the room to “feel” rather than only on how it looked; to me this is what makes an ultimate dinner party. Lets face it, if people are going to be seated for a long while the room not only needs to look great it needs to feel great!!
JJ kept mentioning that underground feel so I thought it would be a fun element to add the rope and stancion at the entrance where Rocco could check his guests into a night full of intrigue and elegance.
Congrats Chef JOE!!
I wanted to keep both parties intimate and create an experience where the guests could see each other, and interact with the decor. The harmonicas or small 20's cars were a huge hit and added that clever, whimsical element, and something to talk about. After all, it is a party!
The real challenges faced on this episode were getting it all done in time!
For more about Jes Gordon, visit jesgordon.com.