Won’t ‘Hue’ Be Mine?

IMG_0646What do you get when you mix a room full of designers, costumed line dancers, a pair of stilt walkers, and a splash of color? The annual Hue Awards, as previously reported by Contract magazine, held last night at the Museum of Modern Art & Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle in NYC. And the event, planned by public relations firm Veeder+Perman, more than lived up to its name, surrounding the honorees and guests in a deluge of invigorating color visuals.

Upon entering the swank MAD lobby, we were ushered downstairs to the theater area. Guests donned their small bow-shaped wristlet favors (cleverly made from Benjamin Moore color cards) as they sipped wine and mingled.

The show opened with nothing less than fluorescence. Four costumed dancers spread rose petals on the floor as they performed a choreographed routine to the pop hit single "Naturally" by Selena Gomez. Laughter (the good kind, of course) and smiles sprouted on everyone's face. IMG_0649Personally, I was amazed at how gracefully the dancers were able to maneuver through the audience while wearing the wide hip extensions and not wind up whipping anyone in the face with brilliantly colored fabric–kudos, girls! Two stilt walkers, also dressed in brightly colored costumes, joined the performance, as well.

Benjamin Moore’s Sonu Matthew and Ray Gomez hosted the ceremony, highlighting the awards’ inherent focus on the importance of color in design and how “color is a liberating influence and an addictive force.” According to Gomez, all of the winners’ projects are exemplary to that fact. “[These designers] all hold a talent for color and an understanding of how to interpret that and bring it to architectural design,” he says.

Each designer conveyed similar sentiments of gratitude and excitement upon receiving their award. “We submitted five projects and were very excited to get our letter to tell us we had won,” says Kevin Wilson, AIA, FAIA, LEED AP, principal of Envision Design, the Contract Interiors winning firm; while Christine Uvegas of Eikena Studios, the firm winning the Restoration and Preservation category, says “We’re so excited to receive this award because we use [Benjamin Moore] products all the time.”

But what was most moving was to hear—and likewise feel—was the designers’ unanimous, innate passion for color and its design applications. Such as the remarks from Lifetime Achievement award winner New York-based Diamond Baratta Design, the first interior design firm to win the Lifetime award:

IMG_0671 “We very much believe in color. And our work has always been about living color, even though color has not always been in style in the last 30 years,” says William Diamond of Diamond Baratta Design (pictured far right). “An interior without color is an interior that doesn’t have all its life.”

Diamond and his fellow designer Anthony “Tony” Barrata (pictured right) also announced their decision to donate their $5,000 prize to the New York Hospital Center for Special Studies, which Benjamin Moore is generously matching.

(Read more about the winning firms at ContractDesign.com)

Following the ceremony, the celebration events continued with refreshments in Robert, the recently opened restaurant on MAD’s 14th floor. The space, which is satiated in fuchsia and golden hues, was the perfect venue to end the colorful event. Guests were also privy to the other exhibits occupying the museum.

— Stacy Straczynski

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