Lifestyle & Décor expert, Caspar Haydar, discuss bridging the gap between basketball and Chinese New Year, plus gives us a taste of his favourite cocktails.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND DÉCOR CREATION FOR THE V.I.P. CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT DURING ALL STAR WEEKEND?

CH: The inspiration was a Chinese New Year-focused VIP Lounge. We wanted guests to know it was NBA Beijing, but not in an obvious and blatant cliché way. So we used vibrant colours synonymous with Chinese culture such as red and gold, but in a modern and understated way with pops of “wow”. 

HOW DID YOU BRIDGE THE GAP WITH SPORTS AND CHINESE NEW YEAR? WHAT THIS CHALLENGING? 

CH: It was a tough challenge to mix sports and Chinese New Year. We focused on the CNY décor, but infused a hint of basketball, like branded gold mini basket balls that were used as centerpieces and extra decor with the flowers. We also used vinyl decals on the windows to tie everything in. To create a “wow” moment, we had a Chinese lion dance to create some hype and atmosphere at the event. 

HOW DID YOU MENTALLY/CREATIVELY PREPARE FOR THE EVENT—BOOKS, MAGAZINE, FASHION DESIGN, TRAVEL EXPERIENCE?

CH: I grew up in Australia and it has a very large Chinese community, which I was heavenly influenced by. I have also always been a HUGE fan of Chinese history and art, which I have researched and been very influenced with over the course of my design career. As a designer, how could you not be!
 
IF YOU WEREN’T AN EVENT DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

CH: I would be a dancer and actor. Preferably a triple threat, but I would be content with dancing around the stages of the world. 

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO HOST/HOSTESS GIFT? 

CH: You can’t go wrong with a bouquet of flowers and or candle. If you are worried about scents and allergies, a beautiful tabletop book is always timeless.  It helps if you know what some the host’s interests or hobbies are! For a CNY-inspired gift I love a Chinese tea set with some tasty herbal teas or a fun modern take on a fruit basket. Select a bowl that the hostess can keep and use after! 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COCKTAIL TO SERVE? ANY CNY MIXES YOU CAN SHARE? 

CH: That all depends on the season. In the warmer months, I love serving a warm malt wine packed with lots of fresh fruit and herbs. For the cooler months, I love a variation of a vodka lemonade garnish with fresh herbs and floral! I LOVE custom cocktails for an event. I look at them as an extension of the décor. For CNY, I love a lucky lychee cocktail. It’s made with rum, fresh lychee and nuts, and garnished with gold flakes. I also love a Jade Champagne. Jade being invaluable in Chinese culture. I use green liquor and champagne to create a jade-looking drink! Use glasses with gold detail to some added stylish elements. 

TELL US HOW TO AVOID THE BIGGEST PARTY FAUX PAS. (AS GUEST OR HOST)

CH: Spend the money and hire a bartender! Also wait for your guests to leave before you start cleaning up—enjoy the moment and leave that to later! Even better, relax and hire a cleaner, if you can! 

BEST PLAYLIST TO GET PEOPLE ON THE DANCE FLOOR? 

CH: Anything by Black Coffee from South Africa is amazing. Something light and soulful is always good. Start off with old school Motown and then move onto some disco and vocal house. It's always good to throw in a well-known hit or two! Most live streaming apps have amazing playlist to suit every person style and taste! 

THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING AN EVENT PLANNER IS…

CH: …seeing the end result of all the hard work come life and to seeing a client’s happy face as they enjoy the moment. I look at event planning as capturing moments and creating memories that last

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