Amsterdam’s very own Ramses Caesar tells all

Opulence and glamor, hand in hand

‘Since an early age, I always liked to clean up, organize and improve things,’ explains Ramses as we sit down for our first interview with him to discuss how it all started. We’ve had an eye on him over the course of the last year or so in large part for his distinctive and enchanting style. It’s hard to miss the dark, sultry, and elegance of his interiors that transport you to a wonderland of opulence, glamor, and sometimes, mystery.

From subtly framed Britney portraits in regency-inspired frames, to intricately balanced color palettes, Ramses’ work leans undeniably towards a feeling of romance. He kicked off his design career quite early, with his parents as his first clients. It was a gradual progression of surprising them every now and then with a new living room layout, eventually leading him to a full design practice based in Amsterdam.

Lauriergracht residence Design by Ramses Caesar & Studio 34 South © Flare Department - Mart Goossens
Today, we’re talking all about Ramses’ inspiration, what he thinks about taking risks in design, and what went into curating his first exclusive collection for PAMONO.

Ramses, it’s been a pleasure following your design journey up close. What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Thank you! Design for me means creating a new world. A fresh start. I really like the transformational aspect of it. Like “Extreme Makeover: Home edition” where they send a family away to Disneyland for the week and when they come back they have an entire new home. The reality is pretty much the same, except it takes longer than a week and nobody has cried tears of joy seeing the end results yet.

Brilliant way to put it. Your studio is based in Amsterdam, how does the city inspire you?

I’m one of those people who obsessively wants to walk 10,000 steps a day, so this actually allows me to see quite a bit of the city. A lot of houses on the canals don’t have curtains or window dressings, so I love to peek (not stare) inside and see how people live and use their space while I’m having a walk.

What I love about Amsterdam is that it’s a small city that allows you to step into the chaos or hide away when you need to. Both can be inspiring to a person like myself.

What are your favorite design spots in Amsterdam?

I live around the corner of the Spiegelstraat with all the antique shops, so I like to pass by those every once in a while. Time & Style has a beautiful showroom here that is worth visiting too.

When looking at your projects, a sense of undeniable luxury comes through. How did you develop that sense of style when it comes to your work?

Do you remember that monkey from Aladdin when he saw that big red gem?

Yes, of course. Abu, the kleptomaniac.

Well, that’s me as soon as I see anything shiny and/or golden. For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the luxurious things in life and I always had a pretty good understanding of aesthetics. However, recognizing beauty and creating it is very different. It takes time and you just have to do the work and pay attention, I guess. They say that if you don’t feel embarrassed by the things you’ve done in the past, you haven’t grown. I’m even embarrassed for the things I did yesterday, so I guess I’m learning a lot and getting better every day.

To me, luxury is not all about the look. It’s important to know the origin of every object, the story behind it. This allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into making it, the attention to detail, and most importantly, the feeling it brings you.

Portrait of Ramses Caesar
Do you take risks when design is involved?

I think it’s my job to take my clients out of their comfort zone and make them excited about new things and possibilities. They put a lot of trust in me with projects that are very close to their heart, so it does get very personal and naturally you want to get it right. So even when taking risks, I consult with my clients or the people I collaborate with to make it as well considered as possible.

Your projects seem to tell a story. When looking at them, it almost feels like you’re there in the room. Is storytelling usually part of your creative process?

I think of it more as placing a strong emphasis on the atmosphere. I like to create a mood and leave a bit of room for the imagination.

You do a lot of high-end projects. What are some more affordable pieces that you tend to recommend and love from PAMONO?

In general, good lighting is half the job. PAMONO has a wide range of affordable vintage lights, which is an easy way to bring in character, atmosphere and add something different to the space. I personally like to look for sets of lights to create a repetitive composition.

How has your approach to design evolved over time?

When I have a lot to do and am a bit overwhelmed, my natural response is to lock myself up and just work until it’s done. Now, I try to do as many supplier visits, site visits and travels as possible because I realized I work a lot faster and more efficiently when I see things in real life. And it inspires me even further.

What is your best design tip?

I always liked visiting my grandparents house when I was younger because there was so much to discover. The art that they collected over the years, the bookcases filled with the books that they read, photo frames with pictures of loved ones, antique pieces they inherited etc. It was by no means a home you would find in magazines, but it felt effortless and a reflection of their personality.

So when designing a place, don’t over-stylise to the point it takes away the charm and character. Also, another tip free of charge: don’t think too much how many mirrors you currently have, just add another one.

What went into curating your first collection for PAMONO? Will our readers get to learn more about Ramses by going through it?

The collection is a combination of pieces that I applied in my projects before, together with items that are currently on my wish list.

In general, I have a penchant for things that are a little bit over the top/borderline tacky and I tried to select items you might not see every day to show how much you can find here on PAMONO.

Thank you, Ramses! It was lovely talking to you. See you soon!

See you, PAMONO!

You can now shop Ramses’ favorite pieces below.

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