Naples Tables impresses yet again with tablescaping talents on full display at this year’s event
The League Club’s Naples Tables event has skyrocketed, becoming a beloved philanthropic event in our area. More than 55 designers developed stunning tablescapes, raising funds for a worthy cause. As Christina Inslee, Naples Tables public relations director, recounts, “849 League Club members, friends, and designers embraced the opportunity to raise a record $635,500 for The Community Trust Fund.” While the field was fierce, Naples Illustrated has selected a few standout tables to share.
The Stuff of Dreams
Whimsy and wonder emanate from this elegant, elongated table designed by Jayne Menke, owner of Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Sherie Lynch Marek. The table features the art of Fort Myers-based artist Carlos Gámez de Francisco, who was born in Cuba. Gámez de Francisco’s work is heavily informed by the Russian Academy and often transforms history and reality into things they sometimes are not, including the provocative.
“I wanted to make the table impactful and bring art into an everyday setting,” says Menke, who hopes to open a gallery in Naples sometime soon. “I selected Carlos’ work because his paintings have such unique personality and celebrate the beauty of women.”
Gámez de Francisco’s imaginative art appears throughout the table on small canvas reproductions but is also on display in unexpected spots, including on plates and the vertical banners affixed to the back of guests’ chairs. The table is swathed in a custom-made light blue cloth with vivid flowers that add intense pops of color. This harmonizes effortlessly with the floral arrangements spanning the heart of the table that include hydrangeas, peonies, daisies, and others. The tablescape’s capstone is the pastel bags containing guests’ table favors, which coordinate but don’t distract from its many flights of fancy.
Perfect for an afternoon garden party or for bringing the outdoors in, this table flourishes fabulously—down to every imaginative detail. In collaboration with assistant designer Amy Bruener and floral designer Silvana Harper, Katherine Goodman, designer and owner of Naples-based Up for Grabs, explains she values the Naples Tables event for the creativity and ideas it imparts to attendees.
Goodman explains, “I love the event because it helps to inspire people, giving them ideas about what they can do at home. Plus, it’s for a wonderful cause.”
Setting the stage for this color-rich table is a leaf-themed tablecloth that coordinates seamlessly with layered placemats: a plum-hued one at bottom and a green-leafed one atop. The gold touches on the Bugatti flatware, the napkins, and the bird-graced plates radiate and add warmth, while the crystal water goblets and Champagne flutes evoke a baronial spirit without sliding into stuffiness. There are plenty of playful touches, too, including oyster-shaped salt wells and cored lemons holding white, cotton towelettes. As for the latter, which plays off the garden party theme exquisitely, Goodman notes, “I saw this idea years ago and thought it would be a great touch to the table.”
Hare’s to the Table
Guests sitting at this animated table, designed by Hunt Slonem’s Hop Up Shop, will surely raise a glass to the bold and beautiful. Slonem, whose birth year aligns with the Chinese zodiac sign of the rabbit, is well-known for his design creations that showcase butterflies, tropical birds, and of course, bunnies.
As Hop Up Shop Owner Penelope Kernen relates, “The Rabbit Run dinnerware featured on the table setting is part of our classic, core collection and is a great base for all the color and design in the line. … Playing up the bunny theme was an ode to Bunny Williams, this year’s honorary speaker, who sat at our table.”
Hares make an appearance throughout this vivid tablescape steeped in vibrantly toned details anchored by a gold-hued canvas. Multicolored lacquered placemats, a variety of plates and bowls, linen embroidered napkins, bunny-based vases holding jewel-toned roses, and other inclusions from the Rabbit Run collection whisk-er away guests as they await their culinary delights.
Shift to Neutral
While many Naples Tables creations embrace the bold, this muted masterpiece by Naples-based Garden District and Rufino Hernandez, owner/creative director, fascinates and enthralls its onlookers.
Hernandez explains the table is designed to convey “a sense of peace and serenity.” At center stands the tree of life, from which calla lilies and glass waterdrop ornaments hang. White Buddha statues enhance the table’s zen-like mood. From pom-trimmed placemats to gold-embossed plates to coordinating striped napkins, all underpinned by a cappuccino-colored embroidered tablecloth, the table’s subdued, monochromatic tones help ensure guests relax and enjoy—perhaps even to the point of enlightenment. Natural colored palm frond fans artfully placed around the floral centerpieces suggest a relaxing tropical environment.
Enhancing the already impressive centerpiece are toffee roses combined with white calla lilies and white plumes, which inject both texture and dimension to the table. Every detail indicates careful consideration was given—even the seating. Wood-framed, webbed-cane chairs ensure guests sit comfortably while simultaneously enriching the table’s overall organic vibe.
The Toast of Hollywood
Lights, camera, action! This star-studded table in pink and green tints—created by Leilani Bennett, creative design director of Bennett Interiors/Home Philosophie in Naples, alongside Brielle Cheff, Tim Holobinko, and Leila Alhassan—dishes out a hearty helping of old Hollywood glamour. Tablemates will have plenty to remark about, including a sundry Tinseltown cast that includes the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Robert Redford, and Audrey Hepburn who appear in perfectly placed black-and-white photographs.
“If I had to select one detail as my favorite,” says Bennett, whose daughter is well-known actress Haley Bennett, “it would be the 4-foot centerpiece with twinkle lights that lit up the faces of some of the most iconic Hollywood film stars.”
Bennett adds, “Of course, I had to sneak in one of my daughter’s photos; Haley is the essence of an old Hollywood female [actress].”
The banana leaf tablecloth in pink and green, a nod to the wallpaper that lines the hallways of The Beverly Hills Hotel, provides a backdrop for the pink placemats, polychromatic plates, and blush-colored napkins cinched by daisy-inspired napkin rings. Cups and saucers, flatware, and glassware complement the tablescape’s aesthetic but remain understated—no upstaging here. Also simplistic are the table’s floral arrangements, which contain verdant hydrangeas and aptly incorporated stargazer lilies. And the glitz and glam of it all doesn’t end for guests when they depart this A-list setting. The table favors ensure guests enjoy rock candy, lollipops, and Hollywood-themed cookies in style—while sporting retro sunglasses in classic black.
Lush and Leafy
There’s no doubt Wilfredo Emanuel has a knack for setting tables that marvel. This one, which the HGTV Table Wars star designed for Naples Illustrated, required an extensive installation and is based on a concept meant to mimic an NI magazine cover. As Emanuel explains, “I designed a frame that looks like a magazine, open on the side; if you look from far [back], the table is inside of the frame, so it looks like the actual cover.”
Hands down the tallest table at the event, this creation’s details are just as impressive as its immensity. The black, white, and green colors used throughout the tablescape impart energy and vitality to guests making themselves cozy in pine-shaded velvet chairs. A tablecloth in a spirited black-and-white print sets a regal, luxurious stage for the dynamic details that rest upon it, including the lime-hued placemats taking the shape of fronds. Coordinating in color but diverse in pattern are black-and-white striped chargers and plates, as well as black-and-white polka-dotted bowls. Black-and-white striped candlesticks in matte black holders along with a black-and-white striped teapot add intensity, but these are well-balanced by the lush greenery found on, in, and around the tablescape.
Green hydrangeas and other flowers pair with intricately braided palm leaves that are sculpted to form the centerpiece—a work of art in and of itself. While the black-shaded flatware is unique, the touches of gold that grace the table, including on the Champagne flutes, are what bestow shimmer and sparkle to the tablescape.