Last night I had the most interesting experience. I dined in the dark at Dans Le Noir in NY... in a pitch black dining room. I mean, not a shred of light. I was with a group of friends, which made the whole thing fun but I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't very uncomfortable. At least in the beginning.
As the meal went on I became more settled, relaxing into the experience. I allowed myself to close my eyes, because frankly keeping them open and straining to see in vain was almost painful. My friends and I talked about how our other senses were incredibly heightened to compensate for our lack of sight. I've never been so acutely aware of my sense of smell and touch. It was also so interesting to try to hold a conversation without the ability to take visual cues from eye contact and body language, and feeling unsure about when you can interject or who at the table is not otherwise engaged in a conversation.
Our servers were all blind, and they acted as our guides - leading us in to our seats and telling us where the bottles of wine (very important) and water were on the table then allowing us the highly entertaining experience of pouring for ourselves. Eating our meals became a sensory endeavor as well. We laughed, admitting that there was lots of using our fingers and general messiness happening as we attempted to eat. It was truly freeing knowing that no one could see me, which allowed me to eat at my own pace and enjoy my food in an unexpectedly enjoyable, and very personal way.
At the end of the evening when we finally emerged into the light I can say that I was honestly quite effected by this experience. It isn't something I will soon forget and it most definitely falls into the category of going outside of my comfort zone and finding new ways to experience this world that we live in. I am grateful for last night and even more grateful than ever for my sense of sight which is so tightly linked to my passion for interior design and the beauty of textiles.
So of course this whole process led me to start thinking about my design sensibility. And while I wouldn't normally consider a post on pitch black textiles, today I am doing so in honor of my dining in the dark experience and the recognition that it has led me to have a new appreciation for the dark.
These shadowy fabrics make you search a little bit harder to see their nuanced beauty, don't they?