While traditional touches like pine swags and twinkly lights have their place at any holiday table, a little outside-the-box thinking can be a visual (and conversational) gift. Incorporating contrasting textures and objects from around your home creates endless possibilities for tablescapes that feel dramatic and festive. Look for unexpected touches like foraged branches or some particularly stunning produce, and playing with height when arranging. Bonus: Such treasure hunting means less reliance on artificial and one-time-use decorations that don’t do the planet any favors.
Begin by using an existing focal point for inspiration—here, we drew ideas from the latest Veuve Clicquot La Grande Damerelease, a 2015 vintage made from a blend of historical Grand Crus presented in colorful, tactile, and completely recyclable packaging created in collaboration with stellar Italian ceramicist Paola Paronetto.
Paronetto crafted packaging that reflects winemaker and Cellar Master Didier Mariotti’s elegant Pinot Noir creation, pays homage to the house’s namesake Madame Clicquot, and is a showstopper on the table/bar cart of any holiday celebration. The collection draws on Paronetto’s signature medium and a color palette inspired by nature and Veuve Clicquot’s hallmark yellow hue. “The paper clay technique, or cartoccio, combines clay and cellulose fiber, creating light and resistant objects, turning them into trompe l’oeil. It blends the novelty, stylistic innovation, and traditions of ancient art with that of pottery, while also being considerate of the environment,” explains Paronetto “Utilizing these living and natural materials, the range of six gift boxes I created for La Grande Dame 2015 reproduce the shape of my signature Giganti bottles, and the labels draw inspiration from the corteccia texture of my works in paper pulp.”
Here’s how her impactful art inspired us to create three slightly surreal, but still practical, tablescapes that can serve as jumping off points for curating your own unexpected table settings.
1. A Study in Contrasts
Juxtapositions of color and texture are at the forefront in this concept. The dreamy dessert tablescape pairs the bold and divergent shades of La Grande Dame packaging with earthy textures in a single candle lit place, highlighting some of the core considerations of the Veuve Clicquot collaboration. “In all my work, I search for a balance between joy and creativity and my connection to nature,” Paronetto explains. “For this new edition of La Grande Dame, the final color range harmoniously brings all of these elements to life, creating a graphic play of light to show them at their best.”
Try it: To create a mix of textures that mirror the blend of shiny glass and matte paper of the La Grande Dame packaging, select items like marble coasters or serving boards, shiny or textured ceramics in eye-catching patterns, glass candle holders, woven napkins, and even pillar candles in twisty or otherwise unusual shapes. The outcome is an Italian surrealist tabletop that would make even the simplest slice of cake feel elevated, especially when paired with a glass of golden La Grande Dame 2015 to raise in a toast to a new year full of creative possibilities.
Like the remaining two ideas, this modern mismatched tablescape encourages making creative use of what you already have on hand or shopping sustainably for second-hand pieces.
2. Perfectly Refined Paper
When used creatively, paper is playful medium that can be customized any number of ways, to serve as a place setting, decor, and even a vessel for finger foods. Look up basic origami tutorials and turn paper into everything from napkin rings to decorative paper cranes to sprinkle or hang across the table, to small bowls that hold everything from nuts or crackers to sea salt.
Cut place settings or a tablecloth out of a colorful piece of paper—this looks especially chic if you can find textured or deckle-edged paper that looks artful even when ripped. In lieu of place cards, write guest names directly onto the paper; offer pens or pencils for them to draw with during the meal. If you like to host sit-down dinner parties, it’s a great icebreaker.
Here, two Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame boxes in shades of blue mirror the texture of an ice bucket designed by Paronetto, which render everyday shapes like bottles or vases in surprising colors and surfaces. The DIY element of this execution means the results will be unique and a little unpredictable—not unlike Paronetto’s work, or even a vintage Champagne, says Didier Mariotti, Cellar Master. “A parallel can be drawn between the singular expression of Paola Paronetto’s art and the Pinot Noir that I craft, guided by Madame Clicquot’s vision and techniques,” explains the expert wine maker. “The uncertainty and risks which Paola faces during the delicate firing process shares commonalities with my experiences from the harvest to the aging process.”
Perhaps the best part is how easily all these decor pieces, including the La Grande Dame boxes made from sustainable materials including hemp, FSC-certified wood fibers, and cotton, can be completely recycled once the last guest goes home.
3. Unexpected and a Bit Avant-Garde
A range of found objects brings a sense of whimsy in a functional space that serves as a Champagne bar, family-style table, or buffet. It’s an ideal design idea for the host who likes to keep people guessing.
Raid the kitchen for items that feel a bit ornamental—think a particularly beautiful piece of produce, like a candy-cane colored head of radicchio, or an ornament-like periwinkle blue egg. Don’t be afraid to get a little intentionally messy. Perched atop a La Grande Dame box, silverware in a vase becomes a dramatic centerpiece, adding height. The result is an eco-friendly display that can be easily customized with what you have at home, and delivers a sense of high drama.
And you don’t have to stop at making Paronetto’s boxes a part of your centerpiece, says the artist: “My wish is that anyone enjoying La Grande Dame will feel the optimism that influenced their creation and that they may become a part of their home decor or beyond. I always encourage reuse and repurposing them, whether as an artistic piece or a gift box.”
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