"In Bali, making beautiful things is a way of offering your essence to the gods," says designer Debra Lansing. With her partner, Walker Zabriskie, Lansing will be opening a third store, Walker & Lansing Amandari, this month, in Palm Beach, Florida. Two other Amandari stores--in Southampton, New York, and Salisbury, Connecticut--have already struck a note with the fashionable set, which is coming to hold Bali's culture in high regard.
"There's a tranquillity and graciousness in Bali," Lansing says, "that we are trying to bring to our stores." Surrounded by the shop's mahogany bowls, lacquered serving trays, batik fabrics, pillows with raffia fringe, ice buckets with polished pewter linings and lacquered rattan chopstick holders, one might well be sitting at the dinner table in the couple's Balinese bungalow. "Whatever we eat or drink when we're there, we do very ceremonially," Lansing says.
In fact, she and Zabriskie believe that their designs can promote a more ceremonial approach to dinner anywhere. "The Balinese are very social, and their culture is based on ritual," Lansing says. "They're always serving things on banana leaves and garnishing dishes with frangipani and gardenia blossoms, because they're consumed with the visual pleasure of the presentation. There's an obligation to honor your guests there, and we take that seriously. We like to ease our guests into leisurely meals by serving lots of small courses--slices of mango, savory pickled salads and other little delicacies that take time to enjoy."