Tabletop guru Dean Driver teaches design impaired to create something extraordinary from nothing
His mom was a ballet dancer, and his dad was an actor. Dean Driver became child actor himself an unlikely springboard for a designer.
“I grew up in a fantasy world. So my imagination ran wild,” says Driver, who runs Consilium Creative Marketing, a local event-planning firm.
Every designer needs to be resourceful, but Driver also spent years “studying with the masters.” He’s worked with tablewear giants, like Lalique, Rosenthal, Hermes and Jean Louis Coquet. Driver also once served as a director for Seguso Viro.
In Dallas, you can’t swing a mid-century chandelier without hitting a gay designer. What separates Driver from the rest?.
“I’m known for doing outrageous, over-the-top things,” he explains.
For example, at a DIFFA Dining by Design event in Manhattan, Driver was inspired by a trip to Maine. So he had an actual lighthouse built. Inside the tower, the walls were painted to match the china pattern. His coup de grace? The diners actually ate inside the lighthouse.
“Everything I do today has a theatricality and essence of fantasy,” he explains.
Other tabletop transformations have featured tapers burning inside candleholders made of ice. One time he manifested a golf course setting with real sod and individually crafted flagsticks.
His creativity is rarely fueled by outrageous budgets. In fact, penny-pinching can be an inspiration: using found objects and creating something out of nothing. His main guidelines are about following instincts and ignoring regulations.
“There really are no rules unless you’re at a state dinner or entertaining royalty,” he says.
On Tuesday, Driver expounds on his design ethos at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Plano. With seven tabletop designs on display, Driver plans to reveal the magic behind his d?cor dazzle.
After 20 years in New York, Driver moved to Dallas three years ago. He’s in town more often now and is looking forward to getting more involved in the GLBT community.
“I’ve filled out all the paperwork to do a jacket for DIFFA. And I tried very hard to play rugby for the Diablos. But I think I’m too old,” he laughs.
Saks Fifth Avenue at The Shops of Willow Bend, 2401 Dallas Pkwy. in Plano. Driver’s tabletops will be displayed Oct. 10-14. 214-432-1666.
Dean Driver shares his approach to dinner-setting design at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Shops at Willow Bend, Oct. 10. 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 5, 2007