"The Garden of Eden," Lenox Hill Hospital Spring Gala's theme, served as inspiration for designer Nick Olsen's collection, a line of plates with de Gournay. Now available through the brand's New York showroom and to order via representative showrooms, each plate features a coral snake in red, yellow and black. As with all of de Gournay's porcelain collections, Olsen's line is made and decorated by hand using ancient Chinese techniques and handpainted using dishwasher-safe enamel.
As de Gournay's Gwendolyn Rayner, director of the New York showroom, tells EAL, "We have worked for years with Nick, and enjoy not only his vision with color but his ability to take traditional designs and add whimiscal flair. De Gournay's porcelain collection is created using 17th century export techniques and many of our designs are more traditional—family crests and reproductions of original antiques—so we wanted a designer who would bring fresh perspective."
Renderings of Olsen's plate design
Olsen reflected on the collection with EAL:
Is this one of your first design collaborations with a brand?
I've collaborated with Lee Jofa on their D&D showroom and am currently a curator for Kravet's new platform, CuratedKravet.com. I designed entire shoppable rooms for their new website. But the plates are my first actual product designs for another company.
How did you first connect with de Gournay?
I have used (and loved!) de Gournay papers for years but didn't know they made china until Gwen Rayner and Laura Bindloss asked me to design the company's table for Lenox Hill. I thought these were one-offs made just for the event, but I'm thrilled they'll be available to the public.
What were your "Dark Side" inspirations?
Well, the Lenox Hill theme was "The Garden of Eden." I've long been fascinated by interpretations of the Adam and Eve story, and think Eve got a bad rap! She just wanted a snack. Plus, I was also raised in Florida and love the juxtaposition of fertile citrus groves with swamps full of terrifying snakes and other creatures. That sensibility inspired the plates: this classic design with small, elegant garlands and a geometric border and then—yikes!—a wriggling serpent dead-center where your Chicken Diane should go. I guess that's just my dark sense of humor!
From the Lenox Hill gala; Courtesy Chris Delaney