Rolls-Royce, Hermes and other more discreet clients, like the heads of state. Charles Kaisin’s list of sponsors is as spectacular as his famous “surrealist dinners”. This time, he was called upon by the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), that gave him carte blanche in organizing a dinner for 120 selected guests.
“Major events and balls were once organized in this casino. But that was several decades ago. We wanted to recreate these events. In 2017, we put ‘playing’ at the heart of our strategy. The dinner, entitled ‘The art of the game and the game of art’, is a step in this strategy,” confides Pascal Camia, General Games Manager at the SBM. A few months ago, when he met the designer, the idea germinated and grew until it finally hatched at last Friday’s event.
Rediscovering the joy of playing
And Charles Kaisin was particularly inspired. He knows the history of the Principality and the SBM: “Here, it’s just like at Hermes! There is still a cult of artisans. They have embroiderers, gilders, and carpenters. Did you know that they make their chips themselves? And this culture of small trades, they see it in the future. They have a very contemporary approach.”
Last Friday afternoon, the waiters practiced the surreal ballet that they were going to perform a few hours later. The dancers and actors performed numbers between the dishes.
“Once the event has begun, it won’t stop until the end. Something will happen every three minutes. There is one server for every two guests. All dishes will be served at the same time, to the closest second. The waiters will carry signs on their backs, and once the dishes are laid, they will turn into a 48 meter-long fresco. Completely hand painted, it represents the history and all facets of Monte Carlo: the games, Tennis, the beach… It is a playful experience from beginning to end, filled with surprises. To rediscover the joys of playing like a child,” said Charles Kaisin. “It will be surprising and exclusive because it will be ephemeral. Our job is to create unique moments. And this evening will be one,” added Pascal Camia.
Horse-drawn carriages and tennis
The large ‘Médicin’ room, which usually houses private tables for high-level players, was transformed. For four days, teams worked on the installation. A total of 400 people were involved in the project. The tables were dismantled and cleared to make room for two 18 meter-long tables, around which sat Prince Albert II, the Princess of Hanover, the actress Christin Scott Thomas and even the architect Sir Norman Foster.
Over the courses of dishes prepared by Marcel Ravin, the Michelin star of Monte-Carlo Bay, the tables were transformed. A horse-drawn carriage with two opera singers from the neighboring Opera House crossed the hall, the philosopher Raphaël Enthoven declared a reflection on the game, and, finally, Monaco tennis players exchanged a few balls under the Belle Époque ceilings. Never has dinner been so well named.
Watch this 30 second video to get a sense of the beautiful and surreal evening: