Scene Last Night: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mack, Daily Candy

Lincoln Center Fall Gala
Michele and Neil McKeon, first vice president, investments, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Among the guests last night at Lincoln Center’s autumn benefit was the financial planner for two of the honorees, architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio.

“One of my favorite questions to ask my clients is, ‘When do you want to retire?’” said Neil McKeon, a first vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “When I asked Liz and Ric, they said, ‘Never.’”

Diller and Scofidio do like to work. In the past few years they and their partner Charles Renfro have redesigned Lincoln Center, created the High Line with James Corner Field Operations and built the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Among their current projects are two buildings for Columbia Business School, the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro and the Broad, an art museum in Los Angeles to house Eli Broad’s collection.

Surveying the crowd, Scofidio said, “There’s a lot of creative energy here.”

Jazz clarinetist Don Byron, in Converse sneakers and a Magritte-inspired T-shirt, said his next concert in New York will be at the Miller Theater in February.

Jamie Picone, a buyer for Daily Candy’s retail site, Swirl, talked up the site’s latest bargain, a praline fur vest.

John Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley, caught up with his second cousin, Denise Vallee, who has just moved back to New York from Vermont.

Waiters distributed plates of lamb osso bucco with creamy parmesan polenta. Diller stood at the lectern.

“I hate to break up a great night of gossip with another speech,” she said.

Insider Dish

Then she filled her remarks with insider dish. Diller talked about one of her firm’s early ideas for Lincoln Center that didn’t come to fruition: a movable roof that would enclose the outdoor plazas of the campus.

Diller also showed video simulations of rejected designs for the fountain on Josie Robertson Plaza. In one version, the cascade of water would form an arch one could walk through. In another, tall plumes rose from the ground, forming a circle around plaza visitors. It was hard to imagine not getting wet in either scenario.

The ceremony concluded with Katherine Farley, the chairman of Lincoln Center, presenting Diller Scofidio + Renfro with a Guillermo Kuitca print based on floor plans for Alice Tully Hall.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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