Over the weekend — a particularly beautiful one in NYC — I made the looong walk to Pier 94 for the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Like in past years, my reaction to the 2011 show was on the “meh” side of things with the highlight being Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)’s Dining by Design NY 2010 exhibition.
Dining by Design, a traveling show that isn’t part of the AD Home Design Show but coincides with and has shared space with it for the last three years, is a collection of more than 40 “dining environments” — or tablescapes, if you will … Sandra Lee, eat your heart out — ranging from fabulously garish to elegantly minimalist to downright hideous.
This year, Dining by Design honors Margaret Russell, erstwhile Elle Décor honcho and newly instated Architectural Digest EIC, and, as always, the big ticket events surrounding the exhibition — a silent auction, cocktail reception and gala dinner — benefit DIFFA’s excellent cause: funding organizations that provide treatment to those living with HIV/AIDS and preventive education programs.
This year’s Dining by Design installations were all pretty over-the-top (but I suppose that’s the point) and I found myself most drawn to one of the more restrained displays that revolved around the theme “Inspiring Afterlife.” Produced by friend of MNN, Coca-Cola, and designed and curated by art director and set designer Stefan Beckman, the installation was entirely encased in a prismatic dome from Lumicor made from recycled glass with recycled aluminum framework.  
On the table — itself made from recycled glass — were recycled glass dinner plates from Greenfeet.com, recycled glass salad plates from Fire & Light, and recycled glass stemware from Japanese firm Ishizuka. The scene’s flooring was TafiPan, a NAUF particleboard made from 100 percent recycled wood residues and the lighting consisted of gorgeous recycled Coke bottle globes hand-blown by Wolf Art Glass. And because this is a dining room installation, chairs played a big part of the design. Naturally, the table was flocked by one of my favorite home furnishing designs to emerge in 2010: 111 Navy Chairs, the product of Coca-Cola’s recent collaboration with old school, eco-friendly chair manufacturer, Emeco. Each 111 Navy Chair is made from 111 recycled plastic Coke bottles. 
Simply lovely and a great, green antidote to the excessively lavish displays dominating the exhibition. Although Pepsi may have the upper hand in the plant-based plastic bottle department, Coke simply can't be, ahem, beat when it comes to eco-friendly dining room design. Anyone else attend Dining by Design NY/The AD Home Design Show and have a favorite installation?

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

First glass design: Coke at Dining by Design
Eye-popping dining room displays abound at DIFFA's Dining by Design exhibition, including one from Coca-Cola that makes use of various recycled materials.