Inside The LongHouse Winter Benefit In New York City

LongHouse Reserve’s annual Winter Benefit honored Cindy Allen, editor in chief of Interior Design, and Joseph Walsh, master furniture artist, on February 26th at Hearst Tower. Both were chosen by Longhouse founder Jack Lenor Larsen. Sherri Donghia, Lee Skolnick, and Michael Lewis were the evening’s honorary chairs.

Matko Tomicic, LongHouse’s Executive Director opened the program with a letter for Jack Larson (kept home by a head cold) “In the late 40’s I was disowned for moving to Los Angeles to live among all the European Designers who had emigrated there and to experience the birth of Modernity, wide open, colorful, and without domestic help. Language was new, too, with terms like fabulous, so descriptive but never again equaled.

Today, modern design has become a powerful industry, but hardly fabulous. While both of our awardees are absolutely fabulous, they are so in very different ways. Our editor is revolutionizing print with fabulous publications: weighty, over -thick, new in layout and sequence — all with a large number of copies.

Our furniture maker, on the other hand, exquisitely crafts single designs — sometimes in impressive numbers, like the 50 matched dining chairs for a Duchess, or a display case for hundreds of privately held watches, or gigantic wood sculptures — all unique and costly, all fabulous, while very different from Cindy Allen’s huge editions.

Each awardee is young beyond their actual years. Bravo to both!”

Cindy Allen, was introduced by architect Calvin Tsao who called his induction to her Hall of Fame ”life changing”.

“Hi guys. It’s a scandal, I’m accepting an award at Hearst” is how Cindy opening her moving speech extolling the industry that she leads. Beginning with her first issue (released on 9.11) through the magazines 75th anniversary issue (which included Jack Laren) and now with 250 issues under her leadership, she shared how she was the magazine’s first woman issue and her love for the industry, “I feel very lucky to live and breathe and design with you all. It is the place where my work, my soul, and my ideas are all rewarded.”

Dianne Benson, chair of the LongHouse Board of Trustees was next saying, Now that is a hard act to follow!” However it was Robert Taubman and Michael Lewis who both introduced Joseph Walsh. At Lewis’s suggestion Taubman commissioned remarkable sculptural furnishings from Walsh, “I now sleep, dine, and sit on art from Joseph and live in his splendor ”

Born in County Cork, Ireland, Walsh has been called a magician of wood, a furniture artist with a style so fluid and an oeuvre so unique, that he is in demand from the most modernist Hamptons beach homes to the grandest houses of England and Ireland .

He spoke of Larsen’s influence, saying, “I think this is such an important and valuable thing and very hard to quantify what we invest in in one another.” Walsh then announced a new installment of his ongoing “Making In” design seminars held at his studio in County Cork. The annual symposium brings the most exciting voices in international design, architecture, and art, together for conversations from the creators point of view. “Making In” has generously offered a special package to benefit LongHouse Reserve.

This includes 2 tickets for the September 2020 conference, ground transportation upon arrival in Cork, luxury accommodations, dinners, excursions, and receptions. Contact LongHouse reserve for more information.

The reception was followed by a gala dinner at the American Irish Historical Society Mansion. Guests arriving at the Fifth Avenue Beaux-Arts Mansion were greeted with live music being played by a kilted piper.

Among the guests were LongHouse Reserve board members Sherri Donghia, Mark Levine, Lee Skolnick, and Suzanne Slesin. Other guests included LongHouse Curator Wendy Van Deusen, Frank Alexander, Caroline Baumann, Dianne Benson, John Cetra, Michele Cohen, Rebecca Chapman, Meredith Cocco, Michele Cohen, Helen Drutt English, Ziel Feldman, Katja Goldman, Steven Harris, Julie Jensen, Michael Lewis, Alice Stori Liechtenstein, Joan MacKeith, Wendy Mandelbaum Lys Marigold, Deborah Nevins, Elizabeth Norman, Hiroshi Okamoto, Barry Richard, Nancy Ruddy, Chris Scoates, and Michael Steinberg.

On Saturday July 18, 2020 LongHouse Reserve will honor Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat at their annual Summer Benefit in East Hampton.

Tony Bowles is one of the youngest sought out journalists in the media world. He focuses on lifestyle, travel, entertainment, food and more! Based out of NYC.