Quick Takes With: David Stark

Any party planner will tell you it’s all about the details—but David Stark takes that maxim to a new level. The in-demand New York-based event producer, designer, and author designs fêtes for celebrities, stars, and nonprofits the world over, but look closer and you’ll begin to notice that even the glitziest of soirees often feature the humblest of materials. Candleholders made from….old bricks? Statement-making centerpieces quite literally made from eggshells? David’s done it. In his hands, everyday materials are transformed into something that’ll make you do a double-take—a party trick that’s made him our go-to whenever we’re throwing a shindig of our own (see: the Scandi-inspired holiday party; moody spring table, and an architect-inspired dinner).

For this week’s Quick Takes, David divulges the entertaining book he keeps within easy reach, the shops (and soundtracks) he goes to for inspiration, and the one table-setting move he can’t stand (are you guilty of this?). Read on… 

photograph by corbin gurkin. 17
Above: Photograph by Corbin Gurkin.

What’s your signature design move?

I have a few up my sleeve, but one go-to is utilizing everyday materials in ways in which they were not meant to be employed.

What’s on your bedside table?

Stacks of old copies of World of Interiors and the book Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara.

Is there a book you read recently that impacted you?

I recently finished Letters to Camondo by Edmund de Waal, which was stunningly beautiful.

What are you listening to these days?

I just saw the hybrid dance/theater/music production of Illinoise, and it has inspired me to revisit Sufjan’s Stevens’ iconic album on which the show was based. [Ed. note: Illinoise is now set to open on Broadway.]

Which Instagram accounts do you go to for design inspiration?

@freelingwaters, @kellybehunstudio, and @ugorondinone0.

Your best house upgrade?

The renovation of the loft that my husband, Migguel Anggelo, and I share in Brooklyn Heights, which was lovingly done by the talented folks at MADE and designed in collaboration with Jane Schulak. We are all about to embark on a new renovation project together in Miami, and I’m excited for that. [You can see our Kitchen of the Week featuring David’s space here.]

david’s work, with sculptural bread (and butter). photograph by sus 18
Above: David’s work, with sculptural bread (and butter). Photograph by Susie Montagna.

My favorite sheets are…

…from Layla on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Alayne Patrick, the shop’s owner, has one of the best eyes in the world, and she is a fabulous designer. I love to mix and match her patterns with abandon instead of dressing my bed in one matching set.

You’re invited to dinner. What’s your go-to host gift?

I bring a signed edition of my newest book, At the Artisan’s Table. I wrap it up alongside a bundle of napkins. There are so many great ones out there right now, it’s hard to choose.

A favorite design shop to visit?

Oh, it’s hard to name just one. March in San Francisco, John Derian in New York, Dienst + Dotter in New York, Merci in Paris, E-E Home in Amagansett, Howe in London.

david at home. photograph by heidi’s bridge for remodelista from our kit 19
Above: David at home. Photograph by Heidi’s Bridge for Remodelista from our Kitchen of the Week.

What’s your design pet peeve?

I loathe when people set a dinner napkin beneath a plate, draping the other end of it over the edge of the table. To me, that’s like hanging your laundry out to dry. A simple fold, centered on the charger or to the left of the forks, works most elegantly.

The last thing you purchased for your house?

Oversized washcloths from ABC Carpet & Home.

And something you’re coveting?

A wildly hand-painted armoire by Freeling Waters.

First design love?


Anything else you’d like us to know?

I’ve been collecting Kitchen of the Week inspiration from Remodelista as reference for awhile now. Thank you for that!

Thank you, David! Follow David’s work via David Stark Design and Production and @david_stark_design, or check out his latest book, At the Artisan’s Table, created in collaboration with designer and Culture Lab Detroit founder Jane Schulak.

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