There was a mood of excitement and anticipation as well-shod guests arrived at Melbourne’s NGV for the third instalment of the Art of Dining. This once-in-a-blue-moon fundraising dinner is renowned for its incredible glamour and eye-popping table dressings. Some of Australia’s most notable celebrities, business people and socialites were in attendance, lending credence to what was already a high-voltage affair.
Art of Dining – a fundraising initiative of the NGV Women’s Association (NGVWA) – invites over 40 artists, interior designers, couturiers, florists, stylists and retails to imagine, and then create, lavish table setting that transport the diner to parallel realms.
In 2019, Art of Dining took table art to a new stratospheric level, calling on creatives to respond to the theme of Tiepolo’s ‘Banquet of Cleopatra’. Among those who produced awe-inspiring table settings was well-loved designer Simone Haag whose seating choices drew the appreciation of design aficionados. Mark Douglass’ glass-blown table settings were an instant draw-card, inspiring reverent appraisals from many guests.
Interior designer and decorator Adelaide Bragg’s dining setting invited diners to step up into an intimate, tent-like space. Her attention to detail was exquisite with beautiful cardboard crafted pieces – from tassels to name cards and even a framed mirror – created by cardboard designer Noelle Rigaudie.
Danielle Brustman’s striking homage to Yves Klein blue cut through the visual noise. At the centre of this table setting (for Kay & Burton) was a twirling obelisk, while hand-crafted tableware and cutlery by ceramicist Jia Jia Ji Chen added a warm, textural element.
The NGVWA is notable for its funding of works of art for the NGV collections (perhaps most notable being Yayoi Kusama’s interactive installation work for its Triennial 2017/18); travel grants for NGV curators; and encouragement awards for promising students of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).
Taking place last Wednesday evening in the NGV Great Hall, Art of Dining will be back in three year’s time. For now, we have the full set of images to transport you back to what was a truly unique evening.
National Gallery of Victoria
Photography by Dan Castano