Shelter Chic


By Monica Haim   |    Photoraphy by Ilan Mor

You’ve heard of pop-up restaurants and pop-up shops, but if you really think about it, it was the ancient Hebrews who gave life to the whole pop-up concept, through the improvised makeshift huts they were forced to build during the length of their infamous 40-year trek through a vast and unrelenting desert. In memory of these ancestors’ efforts and experiences, today we too build huts, our own makeshift abodes for the holiday called Sukkoth. So, the question begs: Why not make ours fabulous?


For one Sukkoth gathering, event designer Koby Bar Yehuda chose to up the ante on the elegance factor, and turned what might have been an ordinary night in a grass-thatched hut into a truly memorable evening. Going for a warm and masculine atmosphere, he used a palette of chocolate brown for some of the furniture, against a delicate smattering of violet colored flowers and lilac roses as the floral motif. Chunky black wooden barrels were overloaded with pomegranates, a fruit typically associated with the notion of life and fertility; and an etrog, the citron fruit traditionally featured and blessed during the holiday, a species of fruit that the sages claim to be directly referenced in the Torah.

To highlight the collective aspect of this particular holiday, Bar Yehuda arranged the tables in long communal settings, which not only helped to create a sense of dimension in the space, but was also conducive to serving antipasto, family style, on long white ceramic dishes that guests could casually share. Using shades of light blue for the tablecloths and beige for the runners, Bar Yehuda was able to evoke a chromatic blend of sky-and-sun, and standing stalks of palm leaves adorned with tiny orange and pink lights were positioned throughout the space, bringing in a touch of the outdoors. To accent the space with lightness, the designer used flower arrangements in low wooden trays placed intermittently along the lengths of the main tables, each trough a beautifully curated display of purple florals and little pomegranates.

In keeping with the Jewish rituals surrounding food, a posh hand-washing station was set up, featuring a large hammered-bronze wash bowl and pitcher, and luxury-hotel-like amenities, such as cloth hand towels, which could be disposed of in the wooden wicker baskets below.

Lights hanging from modern lamps in different shapes were hung at varying levels over the bar, where wine and champagne glasses assembled in perfect formation created yet another aesthetic pattern and a sense of lightness in the space.

Gone are the days of Sukkoth simply being for eating—and welcome to the era of Sukkoth as lounging. To accomplish this, living room-like areas were set up, replete with lush sofas, handsome armchairs, standing lamps on wooden tripods, Persian rugs, floor cushions and trunks, to accentuate the nomadic character of authentic Sukkoth reminiscence. Large graphic illustrations of fruits and nuts were hung on the sukkah walls in another conscious choice to refine the environment, so that despite it being temporary, the sukkah still resounds with impact and elegance.