We set the bar high when we co-hosted the first of four salon dinners with Æsir Copenhagen, in the spectacular setting of The Parabola (formerly the Commonwealth Institute) in London, so we knew each subsequent dinner had to be equally ambitious. In a production that brought together a cast of designers, music maestros and lighting mavens, and took attention to detail to new heights - from the invitations and personalised menu cards, to specially composed graphic projections and music - we gave a select crowd a taste of our ultimate bash. Armed once again with the culinary inventions of Danish chef Bo Lindegaard, the next trio of dining feats took over the Volkov-Yusupov Palace in Moscow, Temple Court in New York and finally Highcliff Hong Kong.
Taking cues from the themes explored in Æsir's design manifesto, Tænker 001, for the specially-produced menu, lighting and music, each of our four unique salon dinners was the perfect backdrop for the brand to unveil its first telephonic marvel, the &#198+Y - a startling handcrafted handset with a sapphire crystal screen and Dutch-made ceramic casing, designed by Yves Behar.
Round two began on an autumn evening in Moscow. Guests were chauffered in Bentley cars (courtesy of Moscow-based Mercury) to the gates of the Volkov-Yusupov Palace, a startling building first constructed in the 16th century, re-designed over time until the 19th century and recently restored. After admiring Bentley's new Continental and Continental Flying Spur cars in the courtyard, they were ushered inside the usually off-limits palace, whose interiors are an impressive lesson in Russian Baroque style, with carved portals, bronze grilles and ornate chandeliers. Accompanied by string quartet Kvarted Elegans, pre-dinner drinks took place in the Chinese room, where guests sipped on Mumm champagne donated by W* friend and guest Vadim Grigorian of Pernod Ricard, after which dinner was served in the aptly-named Throne room.
A very different architectural venue set the tone for New York's proceedings. Our third salon dinner took place in Temple Court on Beekman Street - the city's earliest surviving 'fireproof' office building of the pre-skyscraper period. Built in the 1880s by architects Silliman & Farnsworth, it has been vacant for a decade and, from the 1940s until recently, the dramatic atrium that played host to Wallpaper* and Æsir was boarded up from view.
Our journey began with reception drinks on the ninth floor, giving guests a direct view down to the bottom of the atrium, where dinner was served on a black gloss and brushed steel, custom-made table by production designer Matthew Gant, flanked by Arper swivel chairs, specially flown in. A unique soundscape, composed by London-based Pitch & Sync, in keeping with themes of Tænker 001, performed by New York-based Jack Quartet, echoed the sentiments of the courses during dinner.
The Hong Kong dinner ended things, quite literally, on a perfect high. We commandeered two penthouses of the soaring Highcliff tower, the highest residential building in Hong Kong, giving guests views right across the city. Drinks were held on the 68th floor in the elegant, Tara Bernerd & Partners-designed Penthouse 68, accompanied by a string quartet from the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. Dinner was served two floors above in Penthouse 70, where graphic projections created by Keep Agency and Tom Hingston transformed the space for each course, immersing the whole dining area with another layer of sensory delight.