Two Manhattan designers create a sleek, chic setting for a grand biryani

When F&W asked Corinne Calesso and William Hellow, the partners in New York City's American Design Company, to style a table for us, we knew it would be sleek and chic. But we didn't suspect we would find such warmth and comfort among the stark contemporary shapes.

The assignment was to create a setting for F&W Associate Test Kitchen Director Marcia Kiesel's Lamb Biryani, a grand Indian-style pilaf. "My first thought," Calesso says, "was to use colors that would complement the food," so she started with square butter-yellow plates, and then added a navy glass bowl and turquoise glasses from a summer flea market. "The palette reminded us of India," says Hellow, who softened the table with neutral tones and organic touches: inexpensive raffia as a base for gray linen napkins and place mats.

Decorating the table are a wooden tray that holds accompaniments, a pitcher filled with richly hued ranunculus, a glass bowl of tiny river rocks that serve as platform for votive candles, and a whimsical miniature chair.