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IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHAN LENAERTS



Johan Lenaerts


 When I first saw Johan Lenaerts’ 14 page spread in Interiors Magazine I was amazed at the space he had created. It is crisp and tasteful, with an eclectic mix of styles and art, a beautiful yet masculine feel and surprising selections that kept the space feeling interesting. Coming from 3 previous generations of furniture and interior design (hence the G4 moniker), naturally Johan has a beautiful eye for furniture and luxurious designs. I had to learn more about Johan and his company, G4AGENCY and went straight to his website to request an interview.

Thankfully, Johan accepted and I was thrilled to get more insight about his personal style and his company, which carries a wide range of beautiful furnishings from designers such as Emma Torfs, Kate Hume, Vladimir Kagan and many others.


Iván Meade What was your first experience with design?

Johan Lenaerts For my 7th birthday – I received a Verner Panton chair for my desk ! So there you are – still at elementary school – and already that !!


 


Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


 Iván Meade Who or what has influenced your style?

Johan LenaertsI think  all the 1970-ies – my father had a design shop at that time, selling already early Cassina and B&B italia ( at that time together : B&C italia : Busnelli and Cassina ) – the ambience of the ’70-ies, the Modernistic architecture of the houses and interiors – they left their marks ! It was the time of textures, colours and patterns, new materials 


 


Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade – What designers of past and present do you admire most?

Johan Lenaerts Designers of the past : Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos for their holistic approach to architecture and space; later : Eero Saarinen and Richard Neutra : for me : the fathers of Modernism; Vladimir Kagan : still alive and kicking ! my favourite for furniture design of the second part of the 20°th Century    Designers of the present : Ron Arad, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid : again : for their holistic approach in all the things they design and create ! And please come back in 10 years to ask this same question : than we can see who is leaving marks to remember for the future !



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


 Iván Meade How would you describe your style?

Johan Lenaerts Eclectic & holistic ! Eclectic : since I like to mix textures, colours, materials / Holistic : in planning rooms and spaces – I try hard to take in consideration, all surrounding circumstances and to involve them into my designing and creating-process – in order to obtain a maximum of solutions out of a certain situation


 


Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


 Iván Meade What do you consider to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

Johan Lenaerts Greatest strength : feeling for colour and materials Greatest weakness : I’m still learning, every day …


 


Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade What do you look for in a furniture piece?

Johan Lenaerts First of all I try to find out about the background of the designer – and see how this influenced him/her in it’s designing of this furniture piece / than I look how they used the materials, textures, colours !



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design – Henge Lighting


Iván Meade What is your favourite furniture piece?

Johan Lenaerts On this very moment : the SERPENTINE sofa designed by VLADIMIR KAGAN – still my absolute favourite !


Iván Meade Your Antwerp residence project is simply stunning. The space is wonderfully eclectic but remains very well put-together, how do you achieve this successfully?

Johan Lenaerts The building has a nice – modernistic concrete structure from 1969 – the scheme is very straight up – so let’s say – the setting is peaceful, quite but strong – but to achieve this – we had to break out a lot of smaller rooms / afterwords you have a the space to play with beautiful stuff !



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade Are there any design rules that you think were meant to be broken?

Johan Lenaerts Yes – painting all dark chocolate brown – including the ceiling ! But the effect is stunning ! All attention goes no to the windows and the daylight !



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?

Johan Lenaerts I’m not a big reader – I’m a very visual type of person – so : Tom of Finland on the bedside table  ( Joke ) / on the coffee table : a book on one of my favourite Belgian artists : Jan De Cock ( in Tate Modern / London – 2005 ) ( www.jandecock.net )

Iván Meade What are you excited about right now in the world of design?

Johan Lenaerts I think – in this period of world-wide crisis –  that design ( good and well-thought design of course ! ) is one of the exits – out of the crisis ! With new designs / new ideas – we can create new opportunities ! I’m thinking especially of green-design ( environment-friendly, green etc ) !



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade What is your next design venture?

Johan Lenaerts I’m designing my new house and showroom in the centre of Antwerp.



Johan Lenaerts – G4 Agency Design


Iván Meade Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Johan Lenaerts My happy clients !


I encourage you to check out more of Johan Lenaerts work at his website: