Delivering events with flawless execution and breath-taking attention to detail, Philip Carr is one of Australia’s most sought after event specialists. Drawing on his innate interest in architecture and tertiary studies in psychology, Philip approaches event design with a unique perspective to create immersive event experiences unlike any other.
Philip’s career in events began as a child when he would help his mother with her events and catering business. In 1986 Philip created his own business, Philip Carr & Associates in his home country of South Africa, and soon after found himself in high demand. Such was Philip’s talent and reputation, he went on to organise many events and parties at President Nelson Mandela’s presidential home – cementing his position as one of the country’s leading event planners.
In 1998 Philip moved to Australia, opening Philip Carr & Associates in Sydney, which soon became one of the nation’s leading event design firms. With over 30 years of industry experience, Philip is still at the forefront of innovation in event design, a testament to his passion and commitment to exceeding client expectations and delighting guests time after time.
A Philip Carr event is unlike any other – a seamless, creative, layered experience where the luxury is in the detail, ensuring guests remember any celebration for all the right reasons.
I’m inspired by the creative genius that is Philip Carr. I could pick his brain all day about the event world but I only had 5 minutes, so I did my best to ask what we all want to know.
What has been your favourite event to create so far in all of your career?
Every event normally becomes my favourite as I always feel inspired and creative with each new
event. There have been people who I have worked for that have given free reign with my creativity
and thought processes for their event and these events seem to be a bit “more favourite” as I
seem to really push myself. I always say they I do not want to think outside of the box, but
rather as if there is no box.
What do you love about creating events?
I see events as installations. Working out ways to create the highest possible experience for the
guests and take them to a place that they did not think possible. This could be in terms of how
the event will make them feel special and privileged to be there.
What made you want to get into creating spectacular events?
I always wanted to be an architect but thought it was not a good time to be one when I lived in
South Africa with the changing nature of the political status. Event architecture, as I call it is very
similar in that it still creates spaces to enhance people’s lives even if it is of only for one night.
With high profile clients like US President Clinton & Princess Mary and Nelson Mandela, what makes you a sort after event specialist?
I have a following of clients who really like the way I think and approach an event. I never
think of it as “a wedding” or a “50th” but rather how I can make people feel and what
they would really want when they go out no matter what the event. Doing events with a
twist of the unexpected. Really trying to think what guests would really want at each
point of an evening.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into events?
You got to love what you are doing. To love the pace and the pressure of the industry. To really
want to serve not only the client but their guests as well.
What would be your dream event to work on?
I really enjoy a weekend getaway function whereby the sum of all the functions and the build up
over the weekend creates lasting memories. Events are about memories. Working on a private
island where I am in control of the whole weekend on all aspects from arrival to departure.
What inspires you when you’re coming up with a concept for an event?
Travelling around the world is a fantastic way to get inspired by so many creative and clever
people in the world. Adapting ideas from things that inspire me can be from things in shop windows
to colours of a terrain to experiences like walking through a park. I see the world a lot in
terms of colour and this is often where I build my creative process from.
Coffee or tea? How do you have it?
Skim cap in the morning, no sugar. Never have tea! It seems too much of a slow ritual type of
thing to drink.
Favorite place to travel?
South of France for holidays, London for inspiration.
How do you wind down after working on a massive project?
Thinking about the next project. I go to sleep thinking about ideas for parties. It’s what keeps me
inspired and excited.
Massive thank you to Philip for taking the time to chat.