Aria Group Designers Participate in DIFFA’s Dining by Design Charity Event

DIFFA stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. It consists of leaders of the design industry who raise funds supporting the work of HIV/AIDS organizations. According to their website, Dining by Design is one of their annual fundraisers where “talented Chicago hot list interior designers and chefs craft signature designs and delish dishes amongst some of the most amazing tablescapes anyone will ever dine at this century!” There were over 28 prominent designer participants in 2013.
Aria Group, along with our sponsor Imola (an Italian tile company), had the opportunity to participate in this fun charity event. One of the goals this year at DIFFA was to create a zero waste space. We decided to tap into the materials that were utilized in the transportation of tile. How could we redefine them to create an interior space that could also be feasible for a real Aria Group hospitality project? Typically these shipping materials are reused until end of life, but some do end up in landfills. Aesthetically, our goal was to design the space to be a juxtaposition between luxury and industry. We wanted to evoke a feeling of comfort and warmth through the lighting, textures, and use of materials. Ultimately, we wanted to push viewers & designers to rethink materials, and experience a “cradle to cradle” approach to design.
The walls, bench and the ceiling were created from shipping pallets. The feathery-like portion of the ceiling was created from threading packing strips through a metal mesh that was attached to the ceiling pallet structure. The words stenciled on the walls of the space – Bella & Risorsa (Beautiful Resource) and Bella & Vida (Beautiful Life) – key into how our resources are beautiful, but ultimately limited. The phrases served to pull the viewer’s eye around the space.
Various companies loaned furniture and accessories to us. The table, from Architectural Artifacts, was an old Industrial metal table weighing 250 lbs that appeared to be from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The Donnie high back chairs and the Tori chandelier were loaned to us by Bradley showroom. The Giac Chairs came from the Atelier Gary Lee showroom. West Elm generously loaned us the entire table scape and the fake fur pillows. Fabric was donated to us by Carnegie and Romo Group. Tiles were painted by John Gordon, our IMOLA rep. Many Aria Group staff members helped to construct the walls, ceiling and benches.
The pillows, walls, ceiling structure, and pallet bench were donated to DIFFA and back to a pallet supplier. IMOLA donated the tile to Designs for Dignity. Leftover pallet materials at Aria Group were donated to Root Riot, a local urban garden organization. Ultimately, we achieved zero waste through loans and donations.