An art therapy where the dining table is your canvas
“Work with what you have,” lifestyle personality, book author, and Tatler Homes editor-in-chief Stephanie Zubiri began her list of tips and tricks with this practical advice at an exclusive event organized for the homeowners of Portofino, Brittany Corporation’s luxury residential development in Alabang. In the mini-workshop, Zubiri offered a new perspective on elevating home dining experiences while presenting a live tutorial.
“Table setting is something we do all the time. Fork, knife, plate – that’s it. It’s very utilitarian,” Zubiri began her talk by differentiating table setting from tablescaping. “With tablescape, we think of a landscape. There are different heights, we’re creating a mood, an ambiance. After all, we feast first with our eyes.” With the use of themed or patterned plates, flowers and plants, one can create different moods for dining.
Literally, the term tablescape means “an arrangement of tableware and other beautiful objects on a table.” With the art of tablescaping, the dining table becomes an instant canvas for artistic expression. It becomes a means to stimulate emotions and virtually transport people to different locations.
“Ultimately, it’s not about creating a Disneyland of where you are. It’s the ambiance and lifestyle,” Zubiri explained the concept as she set up two different tablescapes emitting different vibes, one that is laidback and another with the party feels. “What makes Italy ‘Italy’ is the ‘dolce vita’ (sweet life) living, like slow living and savoring the food without shortcuts. It’s not about how something looks but the energy it projects.”
Nothing illustrates the energy aspect better than Zubiri’s personal example. While carefully placing pieces of cutlery on the table, she shared how she turns to a top music streaming platform to help her set the mood while arranging a tablescape. In a singsong tone, she gleefully said, “I like to find a playlist in theme. So, if I was doing an Italian dinner, I will put on vintage Italian music, listen to the songs, and feel like I’m in Italy. It adds to the whole vibe of the space.”
“During the pandemic, our Portofino home has become our restaurant. Tablescaping has become my moment of joy, a form of relaxation, and an outlet for creativity,” shared Myrna Constantino, a homeowner who joined the tablescaping event. This perfectly matched how Zubiri raved about the convenience of setting things up with today’s technology.
“The past few years, we haven’t been able to travel so this [tablescaping] was one of my favorite ways to travel – through food and decorating,” Zubiri said. She laughingly name-dropped popular courier services and thanked them for giving her easy access to tablescaping elements. “I could pretend that one day I was in Italy, one day I was in France, just by the food I ate, wine I drank, and tables I set.”
As things remain uncertain globally, tablescaping is the closest one can get to traveling without leaving the table.
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