If you know anything about me, if there's good food, good people, and an opportunity to use my creativity, I'm there. It was a no-brainer, then, when Chan and Moy announced Linger #02 with the title "Round De Savannah".
Moy messaged me excitedly with the design concept: capture the spirit of eating around the Queen's Park Savannah, yet evoke the sophistication of a dinner setting. Immediately my imagination got to work, with very literal interpretations of what the experience could be like. Should we create mini booths? Moy spoke of umbrellas, and I mused alongside her. We both agreed on draping Christmas lights overhead. In the end, however, Moy's astute analysis of the budget led to her coming up with the poshest, yet most understated interpretation of Savannah dining I've ever experienced. I've tried to capture some of the highlights of it below.
Moy sent me these plans early on, and the main essence of it was preserved throughout the process. Moy had some aspects of the Savannah eating experience that she hoped to capture with this layout.
Moy had some aspects of the Savannah eating experience that she hoped to capture with this layout.
1. A menu of easy, accessible local comfort foods.
- This time the menu consisted of :
- Corn Soup
- Spicy Channa with Pita Chips
- Cucumber and Chadon Beni Cream Sauce
- Pholourie & Grated Mango Chutney
- Accra with a Tamarind Chutney
- Barbecue Chicken
- Grilled Shark
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Bhagi Rice
- Fruit Juice
2. Intimate groupings of people gathered around food
Moy insisted on circular tables to encourage more intimate conversations. She also wanted to place the main course on each table to keep the guests connected with each other and to inspire the camaraderie of passing the dishes around the table, as opposed to the individualism of buffet style.
3. The vibrancy of nightlife accentuated by lighting
On the day of setup, however, I made some minor tweaks to allow for greater functionality (like accessing the fridge, for instance). The subtle changes had some surprising benefits. For one, it was easier to appreciate the table settings, and allowed for a better visual connection throughout the space.
The talented Rachel Rochford (known for her awesome jewelry line among other creative things) came through with some highly impactful centre pieces. She brought her own unglazed bespoke pottery at different heights and made groupings for centre pieces. Baby's breath, sweet lime and other sprigs of green of different heights were used to create visual interest. A large green leaf became the perfect cradle for the accessories and the crockery.
For the serving tables, colour was brought in using a bouquet of bright carnations.
At this Linger, Neala Luna, famed coffee painting artist, added her personal touch by giving all the guests miniature coffee paintings. She arranged her paintings in tiny coffee- brown booklets tucked within little bags. They were in turn arranged within an ornate treasure box against a rustic crate. The crate was perfectly balanced by old chair and table legs that Moy converted into DIY lampstands.
I've been gingerly following the care instructions so that I can matt and frame it my personal painting soon.
CREATING SPACE FOR DINNER
I suppose one of the best feelings in the world, is seeing a design really WORK in real life, and seeing all the details come together. The settings really created the perfect backdrop for the meal. Attendees helped out with food prep, and assisted Moy and Chan with food styling to some degree.
The highlight for me was dessert...I really enjoyed the lollies that were provided by both Vernette (of Vernette Out Loud) and Loud Lollies. Vernette's selection were coconut with the coconut chunks in them. She elevated them by drizzling them in chocolate syrup. They looked and tasted so gourmet!
Renee of Anugraha Yoga brought Loud Lollies, on the other hand, which were made of a wide variety of fresh fruit. I had the soursop-coconut mix. It was a perfect creation-not too sweet, refreshing, and tasted like the unadulterated fruit. Thanks to Chan of Introvertly Bubbly for capturing me in my element with my Loud Lolly.
CREATING SPACE FOR INTIMACY
I spent a great portion of the night observing how the layout influenced human interaction. I observed a curious thing: Moy was right- the round tables did create a much more intimate setting for conversations. However, something I think that none of us bargained for, was that some people were not ready for that level of intimacy. As such, I found that in some cases, people took longer to warm up to conversation with their table-mates, because some of the more introverted attendees could not find an opportunity to fade out of view. Interestingly though, even as the warm-up to conversation took a bit longer, the conversations seemed much deeper and more genuine when they commenced.
I am ashamed to report, however, that my introverted side triumphed that night, so I spent most of the time hiding conveniently behind my camera (Chan captured the evidence).
CREATING SPACE FOR MEANINGFUL BONDS
All in all, though, what I've been enjoying most about being involved in Linger is the opportunity it has given me to bond with other creatives who share my passion for making like beautiful, and for giving all that they have toward pursuing their dreams. I've learned so much from Moy and Chan in the past few months and the creative cross pollination between us has been a major confidence boost for me. I also enjoyed chatting a bit more with Vernette and for seeing Ruhi (of Living Loving Life) again. I look forward to many more stimulating interactions and creative adventures.
I will end with these pictures of Chan, Moy and I...taken by the lovely Ruhi. Chan and Moy are fiercely creative, but decidedly camera shy. They love the first of these two pictures because you can't really see their faces. I love both of these pictures because just getting them taken was an expedition in itself, and a step out of their comfort zones. I post them both, however, because at the heart of this process, we're all stepping up to the challenge of pushing our own boundaries.