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The Deli-Flower Challenge

The players: David Stark, event designer; Paula Hayes, artist. The materials: Fifty bucks’ worth of flowers; vases from home.



"Limiting the color palette will make it easier,” says David Stark, looking over the selection at Village Farm & Grocery in the East Village. He gathered nine yellow and red gerbera daisies, nine red roses, one bunch of red carnations, and a bunch of yellow chrysanthemums, as well as a stray lily leaf he found on the floor. He came equipped with a variety of vases, including a set that had colored pencils glued to the outside. Stark prepped the vases with chunks of Oasis, a dense foam that holds water. “It allows us to defy gravity,” he said. He stuck in carnations to hide the foam. “The carnation is a great trick. They’re inexpensive and last a long time. You want to put them in very, very close to each other, straight down, and exactly parallel to the Oasis. I’m hoping to make this arrangement look like a plant growing out of a bed of red.” He added one gerbera and some lily leaves. “The shorter you cut the flower, the longer they’ll last, because the water has less stem to travel up to reach the flower,” he said.

He decided to go classical with the roses, as a contrast to the Pop-looking mums and gerberas. As a final touch, he moved the many vases around until he was satisfied. “Vary the textures, vary the scales of things, especially at a rectangular table; people have a personal relationship to these smaller things.

“The vases are as important as the flowers,” Stark advised. “People often think that a vase should just be like a generic glass.”

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