Founder and Creative Director of Hessney & Co.

Chris Hessney—a celebrated event planner and creative director of his namesake firm Hessney & Co—built his career from opening exclusive hotels and restaurants in New York City for over 15 years. Chris is now called upon by clients such as Net-A-Porter, Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop, Ferragamo, and Martha Stewart to design and produce high-profile events all over the world.
Recognized as one of the top wedding florists in the U.S. by Harper’s Bazaar, also featured Chris’ three-day wedding in Lake Como, Italy.
SFERRA recently collaborated with Chris on a spring-inspired tabletop design, and spoke with him about his work, design principles and personal life.

"Start with the type of event you are hosting and then solidify your furniture. This will help you choose a color palette for florals, tabletop, and overall décor."

SFERRA: How did you start your career as an event designer, and how did you eventually break into working with some of the most well-known brands and companies?
CHRIS HESSNEY: Having opened many boutique hotels, restaurants, and nightlife spots in New York City, I was constantly planning and executing high profile events. After spending some time outside of the New York scene on a sustainable floral farm in Vermont, I wanted to combine my love for nature with my experience in hospitality, so I launched my company 5 years ago.
S: What was the inspiration behind your three-day wedding in Italy?
C: We found this beautiful property by The Heritage Collection called Villa Balbiano, and on the property were glass greenhouses filled with beautiful citrus trees, orchids and a variety of flowers and plants—all toppling over in mossy terracotta pots. This was our inspiration in building an amazing glass tent to replicate an overgrown greenhouse to host our wedding reception.
S: What is your design process? What element, color, or theme do you start with and then how do you build out the design into the finished product?
C: It is important to embrace the space you are working with, and consider the best way to enhance the setting. I always start with the floor plan and layout of the room, and then work on the arrangement of furniture for that specific event. Start with the type of event you are hosting and then solidify your furniture. This will help you choose a color palette for florals, tabletop, and overall décor.
S: What are some of your favorite spring/summer themes for this year?
C: Placemats are coming back in table setting design—whether it be custom placemats that are illustrated and printed by a fabulous illustrator or calligrapher, or beautiful linens with guests' names embroidered on them. They bring a layer of texture on top of any specialty linen tablecloth.
S: When styling the SFERRA spring table, what was the inspiration and thought process?
C: I wanted to highlight the beautiful linens while also making an impression on guests. The monochromatic palette between the floral and linens—juxtaposed with textural elements like seasonal fruits, a striking plate setting and beautiful glass vessels—help create dimension and depth.
"It is very important to embrace the space and consider the best way to enhance the setting."