Julien Lanoo: On the Essence of Architecture

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Julien Lanoo: On the Essence of Architecture

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Julien Lanoo: On the Essence of Architecture
Vitra Factory Hall in Weil am Rhein by Sanaa / Photo: Julien Lanoo

Julien Lanoo‘s photography is a documentation of the built environment. He looks at the architectural world with a deep understanding of its historical and social layers as well as the visible and intangible connections between nature, light and materiality. His work features clean and elegant compositions, captures the beauty of the physical object and even beyond. After all, architecture is about people and how they live their lives.

What is it about architecture that attracts you?

I am deeply interested by ‘La condition humane’ (from french ‘The Human Condition’), a term coined by André Malraux in 1933. Not the book in itself, nor do I want to sublimate its thematic (which strangely is a modern problematic), but these three title words combine the whole complexity of our surrounding. The human condition — what is it? How unbelievably complex humans are.

I am born in an extremely beautiful and peaceful part of the world: the Belgo-French fields of Flanders. I grew up at the border between Belgium and France, actually exactly on the border because the village was split in two sides; across the road is another country. Below the surface there are numerous scars — ‘world’s battlefield for centuries’. Every European conflict from the Romans to World War II was fought here: the numerous hero stories of the post-war, closed borders, smuggling, human tragedies connected to this trade and centuries-old family conflicts. I’ve always been impressed by those stories, those complexities; how time heals all. How long it will take? […]

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