You graduated from Central Saint Martins, with Ron Arad as a teacher; you worked with Jean Nouvel and you were also the artistic director of Val Saint Lambert… How did you come to organize dinners ?
Charles Kaisin : By chance ! When I did my internship with Jean Nouvel in Paris, more than ten years ago, I was lucky enough to be hosted by the Guerrand-Hermès family. To thank my hosts, I wanted to organize a dinner for the different people who had supported me in my work, as well as in all my studies and research. I asked myself what I could do for a family that has travelled all over the world. So I wanted to prepare a dinner that was different from the usual dinners, that was a real experience.
After the dinner, many of the guests said : « But Charles, why don’t you do this more often ? You could do this for us, for an event. » So, little by little, I organized events for individuals and for luxury brands like Rolls-Royce, Hermès, Roederer… We’ve done a lot all over the world.
Can you tell us about this very first dinner ?
As has been the case every time afterwards, we had an amazing location, which in this case was a workshop. It was the first time we had had a big dinner in a workshop. On the tables, there were birds on the loose. It was completely crazy ! There was also a theme, which was surrealism linked to Belgium. A whole group of Belgian surrealist groups had influenced me. The costumes had been designed to measure. I had brought in a starred chef, and there was a waiter for every two people, so that everyone was served at exactly the same time.
Have you always been attracted to set design and directing ?
Yes ! I’m passionate about opera and music. I learned piano and organ, and I also played the cello. I have also always loved architecture and design. Organizing these surrealist dinners is therefore a logical continuation that allowed me to create a link between all these fields, and to make them happen in a single moment.
Can you tell us about the environment in which you grew up ? What was your dream job as a child ?
When I was a child, I had the chance to live in the countryside, in a small village near Maredsous, Belgium. So the relationship with nature has always been very present in my work. At the beginning, I wanted to be a doctor ! Saving lives was, for me, the most beautiful job in the world. So I studied Latin and mathematics to try to have as much baggage as possible. I hesitated for a long time between medicine and architecture… Then I finally chose architecture because I was interested in the relationship to space.