Charles trained as a theatre designer and began his professional career working for the National Theatre and the English National Opera, designing stage sets for theatre, opera and ballet in the UK and abroad. This led naturally into designing for film, working on several feature productions for Golan Globus and Working Title. In 1988, he was invited to join the UK’s foremost international hotel design company where he remained for five years, working on luxury hotels across Europe. In 1994, Charles established his own design practice, Charles Leon Associates which specialised in hospitality and residential design, working mostly with entrepreneurs and hotel developers. In 2010, he was joined by Nicholas Black and in 2014 they formed the partnership Leon Black. Charles is currently on the Council of the BIID where he is head of the Education Committee, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) and is also a guest lecturer at Middlesex University. Charles pursues many diverse interests including climbing and Alpinism, writing, sketching, triathlons, philosophy, motorbikes and skiing.
Charles is an experienced speaker who lectures on design theory, innovation, emotion and the workings of the designer’s mind. His talks blend design, economics, politics, philosophy and current affairs to provide a new, powerful and persuasive way of understanding the creative mind.
Recent speaking engagements include: