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White by Design – Diner en Blanc, Vancouver

michael binkley diner en blanc

Michelle and I attended Diner en Blanc 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Diner en Blanc is a pop-up, flash mob picnic with a twist. It is elegant, and everyone must dress entirely in white and bring their own picnic supplies entirely in white. This was the second annual Diner en Blanc for Vancouver, hosted by The Social Concierge. 2,500 people converged on the lawn beside Telus World of Science at sunset to enjoy their picnic against the backdrop of the Vancouver skyline, False Creek and the North Shore mountains.

Once we had set up our table, we wandered the site to see what others had done for decor and dress for the event. While there was a plethora of beauty, something startled us. With everything white, one’s eyes and brain began to lose all sense of direction and space!

It was an interesting lesson in how the eye and brain discerns the world around us. We discovered that we had to concentrate on the details of faces, and details of table decor because the context of clothing and furniture was neutralized by white. It became eerie as several times we found ourselves lost and really had to concentrate to find our way back to our own table.

Usually, one can quickly compute one’s surroundings when there is a wide spectrum of colour available to the eye. For example, dark floors and walls will make light coloured tables and chairs easily discernible. Then people dressed in violet, yellow and red are easily recognized sitting on chairs in an order around a table. But when everything is designed in a monochromatic fashion, the brain must really concentrate and find smaller details in the surroundings in order to recognize the same people sitting down.

We had to concentrate on faces, hair styles and hair colour and the shape and texture of  table decor in order to successfully get back to our own table!

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