Who wouldn’t want to pop the cork and sip some bubbly after winning a Golden Globe? That’s exactly why since 1999, a raucous mix of A-listers like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Diane Kruger, and Jennifer Aniston (among many others!) have corralled inside the annual InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes After-Party for a celebratory night of high-profile shoulder rubbing, chef-approved delicacies, flowing champagne, and, of course, an unforgettable décor.
Event designer Thomas Ford has been in charge of piecing together our dream-like soiree since 2002, so we once more turned to the pro for a post-Globes bash that’s sure to be on the talk of the town come Monday morning. So what can we expect for the 2016 showdown held inside L.A.’s Beverly Hilton? “The theme is Asian-inspired with gold and burgundy and bamboo, but the bamboo is mirrored bamboo,” Ford tells us.
To take the theme to the next level, Ford is working on an over-the-top centerpiece chandelier (below) that’s designed to look like an “exploded” and “deconstructed” lantern. “It’s all gold and it has cool new light pixels in the middle, instead of just light bulbs,” he explains, adding, “It’s like we took a lantern, shredded the fabric on it, and then pulled it apart.” “It will also have pictures of cherry blossoms and geishas and all sorts of crazy, Asian-themed pictures that we’ve deconstructed to pixels so you can’t tell what anything is,” he says.
Don’t think the chandelier, which contains 5,000 slabs of cut gold, aluminum strips and covers 15 by 15 feet of space, is the only piece stars can look forward to seeing. The venue’s carpet is stone colored with bamboo detailing, while each tabletop is to be covered with a layer of shagreen (a faux sharkskin, leather-like texture) that’ll match faux fur and gold, embroidered pillows next to other accents of gold and red.
“Every year you have to top yourself and every year you have to do something different—different colors and different styles than the year before. And that’s what makes it fun,” Ford says of his design process, which he begins dreaming up the day after the previous year’s celebration. “I don’t like to do anything straightforward. I like to find something that is InStyle: elegant, and modern, and cutting edge—but then you tweak it even more.”
And while the major lighting fixture—along with this weekend’s rainy, colder weather—promises to be a challenge, Ford can’t wait for the party. “I hope everything goes smoothly and then next year we’ve got something else crazy to design.”
As for which stars help inspire his eye, there are two leading ladies that keep him going. “I like Tilda Swinton. I love her. She always does something from a different perspective that’s forward and different. She always looks amazing and it’s not like she’s trying too hard,” he reveals. “Tilda’s the one I sort of always think is amazing—and Cate Blanchett too.”
Catch the 2016 Golden Globes Sunday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.