Celebrating their 23rd year of existence as a NY institution dedicated to providing housing to people and families with HIV/AIDS, Bailey House felt that it was the perfect time to emphasize their roots and theme the party around NYC itself. With only a shoestring budget, Geoff came up with a clever and soaring design that takes advantage of the 130 foot ceiling of the Lexington Ave Armory at 26th street using long sheets of black spray painted white paper featuring NYC skyscrapers and other iconic imagery, held aloft by 225 36-inch black helium-filled weather balloons that disappeared into the dark recesses of the ceiling...
(And a note from Geoff Howell: I would like to thank all the wonderful people that worked so hard and gave so much of themselves to make this event a great success for Bailey House.
the GHS team expended tremendous effort and dedication to the cause, the lighting was greatly discounted (New City Video & Staging, Inc.), and the whole A/V and lighting team did an extraordinary job making the most of a small budget! )
|Geoff's original sketch of the design|
|The Lexington Ave armory just before the installation began.|
|The Silent auction items were showed in 40 by 40 feet square pavilions that you can see going up in this photo. Anchoring the center of the space was the large bar.|
|Meanwhile, a few days before Geoff and his team rented an industrial space in Ridgewood big and long enough to paint line drawings of the skyscapers, the tallest (the Empire State Building of course!) being 75 feet long/high. In keeping with the street-tested medium of graffiti, Geoff chose to sketch out the buildings in spray paint.|
|Here you can see the 'elevations' in progress where some of the paper panels have already been lifted up by the balloons while others are patiently waiting their turn to fly.|
|The design of this building was loosely based on Edward Hopper's painting "Early Sunday Morning" now on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art.|
|The first panel of a skyscraper goes up!|
|A nod to the fact that the greatest amount of silent auction items are works of art, one of the pavilions was inspired by the art district in Chelsea featuring a High-Line Park facade, a giant billboard simply stating ART and an interpretation of the Chelsea Hotel sign.|
|Looking up at the tallest group of skyscrapers you can see the balloons above.|
|In this shot you can see the reflection of light from the 100 monofilament lines between the balloons and the buildings|
|One of the pavilions highlight the fashion items up for auction. Rootstein generously donated the use of their sexiest mannequins for the central display of the pavilion. In this photo during installation, the 'models' nakedly await their chic ensembles.|
|During the installation of the Step and Repeat, one of the GHS crew members makes sure to keep the backdrop clean and wrinkle free, also becoming his own celebrity moment.|
|TV personality Sherri Shepherd photographed in the traditional manner in front of the Step and Repeat. She was one of the many stars that came out to help the event to sparkle.|
|One of two artists seen here making impromptu portraits of the event's guests.|
|The event is full swing!|
Geoff's soaring design catches the attention of the press!