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Alluring aspects of Design Center soiree include Legos, couture

| Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Stephen Glassman and Ken Doyno during the Design Center Gala at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, Nov. 2, 2013.

Bidding adieu to the traditional black-tie, long-speech and live auction-heavy gala, TheDesign Center opted for a simpler formula for its soiree on Nov. 2.

“We're just having a party,” said prez Stephen Glassman.

Putting the “Spotlight on Design,” the vibe at the Wyndham Grand was decidedly laid-back, personified by the presence of a pile of Legos sitting atop two long tables that had tongues wagging.

“We're the Design Center, so we wanted to give people something they could play with and design,” said COO Jen Fox.

The gesture did not go unnoticed.

“The geek in me would totally sit there and build things,” joked Rachel Booth.

“Yeah, but the problem is that if you're a designer, you'll be worried about people judging your design,” added husband Eric Booth.

The Booths, who joined Lucas and Renee Piatt in the role as co-chairs for the evening, were amongst a crowd of 200 — including board prez Ken Doyno, Tracy Certo, Gwen Dakis, Bill Gatti, Francine Gemperle, Lee Hipps, John Paul Jones, Ben Kelley, Regina Koetters, Rick Landesberg, Christine Mondor and Page Thomas — who were making the rounds, although it was a few bold fashion statements that became hot conversational topics.

“Every time I wear them, and it isn't that often, people always say, ‘Where did you get those shoes?' ” said Donald Carter of his NASCAR-inspired kicks.

While DJ Soy Sos underscored the evening, those in attendance mixed and mingled well into the night.

The mission of The Design Center is to advocate for more livable and sustainable communities in the Pittsburgh region.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at or 412-380-8515.

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