DIFFA’s Dining by Design: Hollywood’s Golden Age

When the New York Design Center (200 Lex) asked us to partner with them to create a dining environment for the 2015 DIFFA’s Dining by Design event, we were thrilled. It has always been a favorite event in the design industry, and 200 Lex has long been a generous supporter of DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). We were excited to take part. Inspired by the black-and-white and gilded all-over aura of the golden age of Hollywood, we fashioned a glamorous dining pavilion.

Golden Age of Hollywood inspired design for DIFFA

Golden Age of Hollywood inspired design for DIFFA with Lydia Marks and Lisa Frantz

Furnished entirely by the high-end showrooms in 200 Lex, we gathered items to create a sophisticated and pattern-rich tableau, to set a scene where dinner was to be held on-stage in a gleaming “dining room.” Our table-scape featured fretwork mirrors, deco-inspired wall sconces and a chandelier. A featured hue was emerald, with silk by Kravet upholstering 18 Celerie Kemble for Henredon dining chairs. Beyond the “stage,” an audience from a vintage black and white image looked on from orchestra, mezzanine and balcony.

Golden Age of Hollywood inspired table setting

We thought it would add touch of fun if the viewpoint of this dining environment was from the backstage, framed by the backs of scenery flats, a makeup table and an “On-air” sign.

Golden age of Hollywood inspired design at DIFFA

The New York chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) named our golden age of Hollywood inspired table Best in Show, and the design press and bloggers were very generous in their coverage, but we must confess, this was our favorite, New York legend Bill Cunningham putting us in the Style section:

Marks & Frantz_DIFFA_NYT

As always, we’re so grateful to the design companies and artisans who loaned, donated and gave their time and effort to help us create this.

Furnishings donated by:

Cassandra Occasional Chairs by Celerie Kemble for Henredon

Mark Double Pedestal Table by Kindel

Hanley Large Chandelier by Arteriors

Lulu Floor Lamps by Amanda Nisbet for Niermann Weeks

Baron Wall Sconces by Currey & Co.

Metro Wall Sconces by Currey & Co.

Cicero Obelisks by Currey & Co.

Corrugated Bamboo Cachepots by Global Views

Aqua Peacocks by Global Views

Minstrel Gold Dinnerware by Lenox through Richard Cohen Collection

Tabletop by annieglass through Richard Cohen Collection

Flatware by Nambe through Richard Cohen Collection

Glassware by Michael Wainwright through Richard Cohen Collection

Votives by Orrefors Kosta Boda through Richard Cohen Collection

Chair Fabric Bengal Silk Emerald by Kravet

Table Runner fabric DVF Mini Deck by Kravet

Drapery Fabric 33119.8 by Kravet

Wallpaper GP&J Baker Fretwork Foil Black and Gold by Lee Jofa

Floor Covering Labyrinth Black and Beige by Cole & Son for Kravet

Black Tassels by Kravet

Participating Artisans:

Structure fabricated by DCM Fabrication

Floral by Aisling Flowers/Tess Casey

Backdrop by Drop Shop NYC

Upholstery and drapery by Marks & Tavano Workroom

Photos in this post courtesy of The New York Design Center: Darren Ornitz

Friday Favorites: Sitting in Style

There are a few places where sculpture, art and everyday life can meet – and one of the best places to enjoy this mashup is the chair.  The word “chair”, without any descriptions or designer names attached to it, sounds so humble.  Just look at the first line of  Wikipedia’s definition of this simple piece of furniture:  A chair is a raised surface used to sit on, commonly for use by one person.  Yet so much beautiful and interesting design has stemmed from its constant reworking.

Vincent's Chair by Vincent van Gogh

There are chairs to eat in, chairs to work in, chairs to perch on and chairs to relax on.  The chairs to relax on are the ones that have been catching my eye recently.  Great as a grouping for the media room, the family room, or as an accent chair in a formal living room, these chairs combine style, comfort and creativity like no others.

Aqua Creations, a company founded by artist and designer Ayala Serfaty and photographer Albi Serfaty in 1994, is probably most well known for their soft, fluid and organic lighting designs.  Their light fixtures are integral to the design of many hotels, restaurants and casinos.  But they also make an amazing line of furniture that follows their same aesthetic and craftsmanship.  One of my favorite lines is called the Gladis.

Gladis Lounge Chair

Gladis Love Seat

A Gladis to perch on

The design of the chairs was originally based on the fingerprint.  It is made with a hand stitched upholstery technique mimicking forms found in nature.  I am currently designing a casual loft space for clients in a home that is filled with more formal furniture pieces and fabrics.  This space is intended to be a place for the family to relax and play with their young child and her guests.  I thought these chairs would be a great way to bring easy comfort to this room without sacrificing on design one bit!

Another design I love by Aqua Creations is their Juno Chair.  Its 3 dimensional textile design is like a tufted chair but with no filling inside the tufts.  Love this and its earthy colors.

Juno Chair by Aqua Creations

Juno Chair in profile

Another sculptural, classic and comfortable chair is the Togo by Ligne Roset.  Originally designed in 1974 by Michael Ducaroy, it is still in production today – that tells you something about the longevity of good design.  Here are a few examples of the Togo suite.

from Apartment Therapy

Ligne Roset Togo Sofa

Togo for kids! Love this.


Those are a few of my favorite chairs and sofas that are stylish, sculptural and comfortable.  I am sure there are many others out there.  Please send us some ideas – we would love to add them to our library!



Array Magazine features Lisa & Lydia….

dressed as Girl Scouts! We just can’t keep that photo down! Re-living a really fun event last fall, sponsored by the NYDC and benefiting The Alpha WorkShop which employs artists living with HIV. Great cause and tons of fun, next year we may even follow the theme, or not!

Click here for the fab photos!

Spring 2012 Array Magazine, look inside for Marks & Frantz

Highlights from last night’s 6th Annual Masquerade Ball hosted by the New York Design Center!

Last night the entire Marks & Frantz team hit the NYDC for their 6th Annual Masquerade Ball! The theme was Roaring 20s, which we largely ignored (Nicole pointed out that the Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, so we are not so far off!). It was a benefit for The Alpha Workshops, a wonderful workshop that trains artists living with HIV and AIDS to work in the decorative arts. The costumes were amazing, not that we expected anything less from a room full of designers!

 Lisa and Lydia

Lisa Frantz, Lydia Marks, Anna Cangiano, Nicole Villi of Marks & Frantz

or Troop 7777

Team Amy Lau won the costume award. We were going to face off and take them out since we were both teams of girls in knee socks, but they outnumbered us so we decided against it!

My personal fave was Tony Manning’s group!

Not sure who these designers are but their royal wedding was one of the best of several last night.

The girls from Veranda Magazine!

The girls from NYDC, the talented marketing mavens behind this ball

Lydia with Tim O’Rourke of Fort Street Studios

and some most excellent Fascinators…. future blog post tk on the Fascinator!

Tonight at the NYDC

Tonight, Lydia and I will be at Atelier, a contemporary showroom at 200 Lex, discussing their exciting new Fall 2012 designs.  Along with New York Spaces Magazine, the event hosts, we will cover some of the Fall highlights at Atelier and many other showrooms in the building. Some of the industry’s mosts influential editors and designers will turn out for this event. To meet a few, stop by some of the following showrooms: New York Spaces Editor Jason Kontos (and we will be there too!), House Beautiful’s Newell Turner will be at Benjamin Moore to cover color trends, Lonny Magazine’s Michelle Adams will tour Hickory Chair Pearson’s fabulous new showroom on the first floor and Veranda’s Dara Caponigro will be at Century to celebrate icons in design, just to mention a few. For the complete listing, check out the NYDC What’s New, What’s Next program. See you there!

What’s New, What’s Next @ New York Design Center

As featured designers at the New York Design Center, we have been asked to participate in a variety of events this Tuesday evening at 200 Lex. We are so excited to meet all the magazine editors, interior designers and see what’s new in the showrooms! Stay tuned for future blog posts on one of our fav showrooms, Atelier

Don’t miss the event that will surely be the talk of the industry!

Lonny Magazine Interviews Marks & Frantz!

The new issue of Lonny Magazine is out and we are in it!  Michelle Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Lonny Magazine, discusses the Access to Design program at the NYDC with us.  Watch the video  here.  And enjoy the rest of the magazine too – we will!

Would you like more Access to Design?

There is a fabulous building full of great design here in New York City.  It is called the New York Design Center and it is the oldest furniture and design building in the US.  As is the case with most of the design buildings, the showrooms generally work only with the trade – if you are not a designer you generally have very little access to these design showrooms.  The NYDC is changing that with their new program Access to Design.  There is a rotating list of designers who do “office hours” at the NYDC.  If a visitor comes in without a designer – and would like to purchase something – the designer on site can help guide them through the amazing choices of furniture, fabrics and lighting and assist in making the purchase.  In the Access to Design office they have portfolios for all the designers involved in the program.  It is a great way to see a variety of work, read about the firms, learn about their billing structures, etc.  Marks & Frantz is thrilled to be one of the preferred design teams participating in this program.  And… if you stop by the NYDC today you can say hello to Lisa!


1st Dibs arrives at the New York Design Center

I am so excited because as everyone knows we are obsessive vintage shoppers, for ourselves and for our clients….and now, 1st Dibs has a brick and mortar store at the New York Design Center! It’s 10,000 square feet of the most unbelievable things from some of our fave dealers and also some new ones from other parts of the country that we’ve only seen online. Our clients will love this because we can hit 25 or more dealers in an hour! We have already made our first purchase for a client, the day after the opening party! I bought a gorgeous pair of Dunbar end tables with capped brass feet from Jon Howell Antiques in Williamsburg and I would never have chased them down based on a photo, in person at NYDC, I fell in love!

NYDC’s Array Magazine features Marks & Frantz

Our friends at the NYDC featured Lydia and I in their quarterly magazine, Array. We were asked to talk about one of our current obsessions…..the color yellow was top of the list! Check out the full story featuring five designers on DesignDish, starting on page 34, or view the full artcile here.

“Our current obsession is the color yellow! Luminous like sunlight, yellow signifies happiness and warmth, and a brilliant yellow can add an unexpected punch to any room.  It catches the eye and makes the room feel fresh and alicve. Sometimes it’s just the unexpected lining of a drapery or maybe it’s canary yellow sofa… Contemporary or classic, it makes an impact almost anywhere.”


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