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It wasn’t long ago that Clarence (you can call him “Ged”) took a break from his design studies at Parsons in New York and embarked on a month-long solo trip to Europe. He went in search of adventure and inspiration—much to his surprise and delight, adventure and inspiration found him first.
For Airbnb accommodations in Belgium, Clarence went big: a mansion lavishly decked out in an eclectic mix of vintage finds, antique furniture, high ceilings, and crown mouldings—all interspersed with modern, luxurious finishes. And did we mention the enchanting garden out back?
The young designer was so taken by the grand living space he asked his host if he could stage a fashion photo shoot in his favorite room, the master suite.
“The home reminded me of the grand, decadent mansions seen in films like Festen (The Celebration) and Melancholia,”—he was taking a class in Scandinavian cinema at the time—”which are often home to grand parties and dinners, and that kind of inspired my concept. I wanted to portray the after-hours of a party night.”
Clarence hired eight local models, a stylist and a makeup artist to bring his vision to life. His host shared in the excitement and helped out.
“My host was extremely accommodating, considering the shoot occurred two hours after I moved in,” said Clarence. “He had plans to host a large dinner party that night with friends, but he still was generous enough to allow me to bring people over. Because I didn’t speak much French or Dutch, whenever there were questions asked by the crew or the models, he would help to answer them.”
The shoot was a success. For Clarence, this wasn’t just measured by looks alone—he also found a new enthusiasm for his career path. After the shoot wrapped, Clarence emerged with a fresh perspective and more confidence in his creative abilities.
Inspiration and guidance have popped up on the pathways of subsequent Airbnb journeys Clarence has embarked upon. He was able to escape unpleasant, peer pressure-filled roommate experiences during college by using Airbnb to find a more peaceful and fitting living situation. And during a trip to Vancouver to recharge his batteries, he gained valuable insight from his hosts—both retired school teachers—for his college thesis on teen violence.
“Because of these two positive experiences,” said Clarence, “I’ve developed a strong sense of independence and I have now become more self-confident and inspired in taking chances, pushing myself to consistently trying new experiences and proactively pursuing the answers to my questions.”
Clarence’s renewed confidence has even sprung up in the advice he has for those about to embark on their first Airbnb experience—excellent words for everyone to navigate life, really:
“Keep an open mind and allow your intuition or feelings to guide you,” he said. “Don’t let anything make you give up your desire to do or see something. Never worry about feeling lost because the achievement of eventually finding your way is one that is extremely rewarding and long lasting.”
Learn more about Clarence’s design on life on Airbnb Stories and check out his glowing reviews on his Airbnb profile.
See Clarence’s latest work at clarencekitt.com.