The oasis of the founder of the LRNCE label Laurence Leenaert in Marrakech
The founder and creator of the LRNCE label, Laurence Leenaert, lives in Marrakech with her husband Ayoub Boualam. Its interior with harmonious volumes and its objects of yesterday and today tell of its journey under the influence of Moroccan light.
The founder of the lifestyle label LRNCE – for Laurence – is the most Moroccan of Belgians. After studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and a stopover in Berlin, the Belgian headed south. Marrakesh. Since 2013, she has been creating ceramic pieces, furniture, rugs, ready-to-wear… combining traditional Berber know-how, modern functionality and certain creativity. Handcrafted, her collections in warm colors bear the imprint of her poetry. Like her apartment located in the district of Guéliz. “ This is the oldest district of the new Marrakech, very dynamic and full of energy”, comments Laurence.
There, she moved into a 160 m2 apartment which revolves around a patio and opens onto a terrace with a view of buildings from the 1980s. In love from the first visit, Laurence has furnished the premises with Bruno Melotto, this “ incredible architect ” from the Trabdesign studio. “The large windows are always open and the terrace is an integral part of the living space, which gives the impression of being outside ,” explains the designer. Preserved from the original structure, a fireplace nevertheless sits in the center of the living room. "In winter, it can be very cold and there is nothing better than gathering around a fireplace ,” she says.
On the floor, Laurence has kept the terrazzo of the 1980s. For the walls, sobriety is required with off-white. They host paintings by the designer, but also architectural works by the painter Natacha Mankowski , abstract works by Terry Ekasala or the collective of Belgian artists Leo Gabin. “ Our objects and works are very colorful ,” she says. Its interior gives a remarkable place to materials: terracotta tiles, hand-knotted rug, marble table from Pakistan, lamp with crocheted cotton lampshade. Like her creations where all the materials meet, provided they are raw and in harmony. “I love experimenting with new materials and combining different textures. For our new project in the medina, I used materials that I had never worked with. It's the same for our apartment, we choose strong pieces with leather, marble, textiles, wood, clay, zelliges and together they form a balance”, explains Laurence.
To unearth furniture and objects, she scoured the galleries and antique shops of Belgium and the Netherlands, had custom-made pieces made and surveyed the flea markets of Marrakech. In her office, the travertine stone table with its burl veneer top and the chairs were made in Marrakech. On the wall, a work by Lieven Deconinck, artist of the Leo Gabin trio, based in Ghent. Finally, a lithograph by Picasso in a carved wooden frame is from A Hare in the Forest in Manchester. “ I love collecting all these pieces from everywhere, old and new." The cosmopolitan and temporal marriage is perfect.