A few years ago I visit Marrakesh with my friends Emma and Hannah for a little retreat. It was exciting, invigorating and utterly magical. I’ve longed to return. During the days in the medina, we would shop to our hearts content. Baskets, rugs, leather pouffes, roses petals all and everything we could get our hands on.
But looking back – we were just buying stuff in the typical tourist trap. Typical Moroccan things, that someone somewhere was busy making for the all the cheap flight tourists to go home with.
I go to thinking – there must be something more than this. Artists and artisans making the real deal? What about modern Morocco? Not everyone one wants a tagine style ashtray?
I recently discovered LRNCE, a Marrakesh based lifestyle brand which focus on interior decoration and accessories. Found in 2013 by Belgian Laurence Leenaert, who uses modern designs on traditional Moroccan pieces.
Think the traditional Beni Ourani rug, but with a modern twist. All production is made within North Africa, paying close attention to craftmanship and the traditional processes behind the products.
Laurence, who, after a trip to Morocco with her sister, bought a return ticket and stayed for a month in the desert with her sewing machine in local communities. Then, Marrakech became an addiction and evolved to a permanent move after six months of going back and forth. She felt Marrakech had something Belgium was missing.
It wasn’t just a hunch. Laurence started to work with locals in North Africa to create sandals, carpets, textiles, ceramics and everything that came out of her creative mind that could be materialised. Today, after only 5 years since the launch of LRNCE, the brand has been featured in every lifestyle, decor, fashion and kitchen magazine that you can think of.
“My designs are into the moment, very spontaneous, personal as I want to be very close to the production, artisans and the products.”