After his studies in Product Development in Genk, Casimir started out as a furniture designer in a shed belonging to his father. We are talking of some 9 years back.
Product developers who actually put their own designs into execution are something of an exception. But Casimir did not feel that his vocation was to go through life as an industrial designer. A placement in an interior design business gave him the basic knowledge of carpentry and implanted in him the desire to design furniture and, moreover, to make it himself.
He began gradually to make a name for himself in Flanders as a designer of furniture with its own, distinctive style: solid, heavy; typically Flemish in his opinion, Burgundian, with a clear legibility that yet conjured up uncertainty. At first in wood alone; later he went on to use aluminium and leather.
In September 1999, Casimir decided to take Casimir Furnishings worldwide. CASIMIR was registered as an international trademark He set up his own website, www.casimir.be, printed a brochure and catalogue in three languages and researched the potential markets in conjunction with Export Flanders.
The Henry van de Velde 2000 Company Prize went to Casimir, however, for merits that it first started to earn in 1997, when he decided to develop a variety of activities. In 1998, he set up impressive new premises. An exciting period followed where financial headaches from heavy investments threw a shadow over the design itself. But they were essential for him to be able to continue developing his own, extremely personal furniture line. He generated other income from new activities and, alongside a showroom and spacious workshop with warehousing, he constructed further space for a photographic business for his photographer wife Anna Leoni and offices.
He also set up a company to meet the growing demand for development and design of 3D projects (architecture, interior design, stand construction and product development), giving it the name CO3 (Casimir Design Bureau for 3D-design). He gathered a small coterie of designers each with their own specialisation. And depending on the nature of the order, he also brought in specific external parties where necessary.
Casimir works principally with SMEs. His customers understand the need for a well-considered house style that translates not only into a logo or printed matter but also into the interior design of their buildings, into the stands with which they present themselves at trade fairs, into their products and into their packaging.
In this connection, he also started up a graphics department in January 2000, under the name of CO2.
Casimir admits that he often has ta make concessions in his sector, but these are amply compensated by his activities as a furniture designer, where he can indulge himself to the full. What is unique about the Casimir Design Bureau is that all the elements that determine the house style of a company are given form by a single design bureau. This means that the company can project a clear, consistent message right across the board, in its architecture, interior design, products, packaging, logo and printed matter. Usually, companies call in an architect, an interior designer, a graphic designer and a photographer who then work alongside each other. Commercially however, it is very important that a company's philosophy be conveyed clearly to (prospective) clients and this can best be accomplished if the company has a framework that has been conceived by a single person.
Casimir Design Bureau's clients have included: Daikin n°1 (air-conditioning systems), Donum Design bvba (Hasselt), Concentra Nieuwe Media nv, Volvo Belgium nv, Reynders c nstruction and interiors nv, Luko nv (garden furniture), Epsilon nv (signs and displays), Espresso time bvba, lmpuls nv, Limburg Province, Modart bvba (fashion), Connection nv (fashion designer Raf Simons), Mini Flat nv (verandas), Gallo-Romeins Museum Tongeren, Bex&Enkt nv (fashion accessories), Lintex bvba (multi media walls), Levi Strauss Belgium nv, Flanders Multimedia Valley vzw, Chrono nv (coffee machines), Mad Productions bvba (Ibiza party organiser).