The luxury event creator demystifies the exclusive world of curated and unforgettable experiences.
What Loic Serot loves most about his job is not only the access to a world of exclusivity and luxury but the real interaction and connection he can have with very different and interesting people, celebrities, artistic talents and chefs too. While gastronomy today has been elevated beyond comparison, it remains focused on the table, which has always been a locus for storytelling and history. There is so much to say about dinners, it is the most politically — and artistically — charged moment that can exist, in life itself.
Today at ASIAOMB, as Strategic Director and Art Director, he is broadening and developing the concepts and economy that he has created for dinner to other dimensions in luxury, travel, and yachting to successfully create other kinds of experiences.
Ahead, we speak with Loic Serot to learn more about his experiences as an Event Creator.
You are an “Event Creator”, how important has been your family background in becoming who you are now (for eg. your father as an architect and your mother as a fashion designer)?
My parents raised my brother and I with an open mindset and tailored a portfolio of very different experiences that encouraged us to explore a wide range of knowledge from different cultures, literature, architectures, art, fashion and music.
As our parents were often invited to openings, they were not home and we became responsible for our time. We were asked to surprise them when they returned. This pushed us to be creative, transforming the house into another theme by rearranging the lighting and objects, transforming the rooms into a starry hotel and sometimes even dressing up for the occasion. Experimenting with new recipes and cooking soon became a passion we both treasure.
The most fascinating part of my upbringing was my parents’ background as an architect and a fashion designer. They focused on converting 2D drawings into 3D realities, and that influenced the way I perceived things too. I find it transcendental to see the moment when an idea takes shape, birthing from a specific emotion, and then becoming a true experience of changing realities.
If you were to mention one mentor who is inspiring you in your daily life and career, who would that be?
My father, Daniel Serot. He was an unknown genius who played with his senses to manipulate reality and to create a stunning life.
Salvador Dali was another mentor that I look up to. He was not just an iconic painter but also an incredible event designer, staging “impossible” stories.
Another source of inspiration for me comes from the book “Image, Icon, Economy” by Marie-José Mondzain. The book explores the origins of the Byzantine empire’s war of representation and how it influenced our contemporary imagination. Sometimes I do think that Bernard Arnaut learned a lot from it as well.
What would you describe as your forte? What different perspectives do you provide versus other Event Producers?
I would say it is my ability to craft compelling stories based on the laws of the universe, attraction, and excitement, then to translate those stories into distinct chapters that possess their own power and energy of emotion through art, aesthetics and design, and finally to crystallize the magic by ending with a climax of memorable celebrations.
I don’t compare too much to other producers’ work. Instead, I follow my intuition and believe that the best ideas are hidden in the processes of nature, physics, the universe, history, technology and games. I focus all my attention on the subject and work until all parts are mastered, connected and alive in the same direction. Each project is a whole new “economy” to be envisioned and succeed.
Do you have any specificity?
At events, for example, the food plates were mainly used as a white canvas: an invisible support to contrast a chef’s creations, or as a backdrop to reflect the brand’s logo. But for me, each plate is more than a support or a statement, I create them with the same perfection as the other components of the experience. So, each course and plate works in the continuity of a narrative. They display, at first, a chef’s culinary economy (how gastronomy works as a combination of taste, temperature, substance, plating and intention) and then integrate those in a larger framework and artistic context to infuse emotions that link with the wider theme.
The concept of “experience” is key for you when designing an event. What is a successful “experience” for guests?
People attend events to experience something not commonly felt or expected. The key value is to successfully provide access to another reality. We, as event makers, have to be the conduit of newness and allow people to elevate themselves to another level of freedom and imagination — in essence, we are the magicians.
The principles we work by are: ritual, transfiguration, sacrifice, glorification and catharsis.
The actual return on event investment (apart from exponential sales) are these crystalized memories that must persist the longest. And they should be engraved, mirroring as well, brand’s name and philosophy.
If you want to explore more in-depth about specific creation or concept in events, you need ways to afford them. So there is no compromise: the best for the best. For luxury brands and billionaires, they need you to generate exceptional moments for them and their guests. This is a challenge that I readily take on to create new dimensions and ideas to blow people away.
Is there anything you wish to add about your work?
We have learnt so much these last 10 years and chartered new directions for the next 10 so there will be a lot of changes coming. As a result of our work, we also created two new roles: “Dinner Designer” in 2010 and “Culinary-tellers” in 2012 who bring meaning to any event. These new roles have become essential in any high-end event today.
I think that our industry is more complex and sophisticated than in the past, involving a range of new techniques, representations, effects, personalisation and dimensions. So it is crucial to be specific in your approach and invite the right person to do the right job, especially in Asia.
What brought you to Asia? And why did you settle in Hong Kong?
I was drawn to Asia due to its culture, philosophy, and cinema which I felt a connection to my work. After completing three masters in art, design and cinema, I was awarded grants and invited to participate in various art residences in Asia, including becoming a laureate of the prestigious Villa Kujoma, Kyoto in 2005. After this exceptional experience, I chose to stay in Asia. Hong Kong was growing to be fascinating enough to aid me in developing concepts I had about art, architecture and gastronomy.
Building upon the success of our experimentation in festivals and events, we founded ASIAOMB (AO), a company based on an avant-garde vision of unique, sensorial and luxurious curated experiences. For example, we were the first to create a full-immersive video projection and sound-designed series of dinners in Asia for K11 Founder Adrian Cheng in the K11 Art Mall TST opening at the beginning of 2010, inviting a young Singaporean pastry chef to lead the gastronomy and dishes structures, that has since become famous.
After Asia, what is another continent you would like to explore?
We did a few projects in Europe and a lot in South Asia, and we do love Hong Kong and Singapore for their high culture, curiosity and demographic. Now, it seems as well that some of the wealthy Chinese and Americans are interested in us. So, let’s see how it will turn…
What is your favourite memory of an event you organised in Singapore?
There are so many good memories of success. Chanel, in the heart of Aubazine; Cartier, Panthera Odyssey, a sublime exhibition that we signed; Bank of Singapore was one of the more outstanding projects involving virtuality and Web3 theme. The most amazing was definitely the launch of the biggest superyacht in Asia, the White Rabbit for the Goh family.
My very favourite among the others that I have done was the launch of Richard Mille 50-04 with Kimi Raikkonen. It was by far the most challenging but also the most rewarding. I had to come up with a way to raise funds for Kimi’s foundation, while also entertaining the guests with 3-starred meals and reviewing the watch. At first, I was unsure about how to mix luxury, haute watchmaking, celebrities, games and gastronomy, but in the end it all came together seamlessly. The event culminated with an ecstatic series of emotions from races, menu, TV show, table games, intensity and humour, all happened in a world-class setting.
Your next important projects across 2023?
After these three years of strong economic headwinds, we have re-evaluated AO to capitalise more on our exceptional skills. On the one hand, we are continuing to create stunning events for brands and the wealthy incorporating even more potentiality and vision. On the other hand, we are now beginning to engage with investors for a multi-immersion restaurant that would be a culmination and celebration of our 13 years of success in designing dinner experiences.
Additionally, there is also a hotel concept that has the potential to revolutionise the hotel industry with a new destination! But most importantly, after several years as a sponsor and partnership agent, AO will host its own summit that will open in 2024, with the first-ever event that to generate positive carbon credits. Stay tuned!
And about dinner “design”?
The next one is named the “Jet lag dinner” and is being organized for one of our most loyal customers in Europe. We are creating a “flying sun” that will serve as the main source of light during the dinner. The event will incorporate elements of different time zones, economics, psychology, word processes and sustainability as these investors are interested in the blue economy. It will be truly amazing to play with the intensity and positioning of the sun to create an illusion of time dimension, distorting perception and reality and bringing attention to the pressing issue of climate change and our collective responsibility to address it.
The world is truly fascinating.
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