I always love learning about talented people working in creative fields. Today, we interview Jan Lorenc, founding principal of Lorenc + Yoo Design. Jan's firm specializes in wayfinding and exhibition design. Their talents have enabled them to work on high-profile, beautiful projects worldwide. Be sure to check out their work before reading the interview.
Who are you? What is your story?
My family and I immigrated to Chicago from rural Poland when I was eight years old. From an early age, my first-hand knowledge of the wider world abroad formed my interest in artistic diversity, particularly international movements and schools. During both my undergraduate and graduate programs (B.S. in industrial design and M.S. in visual design at the Illinois Institute of Technology) I worked with Ted Peterson in Chicago as his first and only employee after he left the renowned firm Unimark. Under his guidance, I designed the Target logo and store signage identity program. Working with Ted across disciplines–graphics, interiors, architecture–sparked my quest to continue learning and experimenting.
How did Lorenc + Yoo come about?
I founded the firm in Chicago shortly after working with Ted. I wanted autonomy to explore design and serve clients on my own terms. It was tough to nudge into the industry there, so we moved to Atlanta, which was just beginning its tremendous growth. Chung Youl Yoo joined the firm in 1988, and we renamed the firm in 1999 to acknowledge his partnership.
What makes Lorenc + Yoo unique?
We are a collaborative of industrial designers, architects, artists, interior designers, graphic designers – all working to design immersive environments. We tell our clients’ stories beautifully through space. Sometimes, these are stories our clients never realized they had to tell.
Who is it catering to?
We serve clients whose customer value depends on telling their stories. This includes residential and commercial real estate developers, hoteliers, interior designers, architects, as well as corporations (such as UPS, Delta Air Lines, and Sony-Ericsson) and institutions such as the Mayo Clinic.
What is the vision for the company's future?
Our vision is to do in Europe what we have achieved today in China. There, with our partners at Vanke (China’s largest real estate developer), we have created unique environmental experiences that leverage every area of our expertise. Projects such as Opalus in Guangzhou, China reflect our highest ambitions. We find that when we’re involved in projects from the earliest stages, we realize our clients’ greatest visions, and look forward to doing that in Europe too, where design sensibilities are wonderfully refined.
What do you like most about the company?
I love having the ability to turn on a dime to pursue exciting projects anywhere in the world.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
I love exploring cities and towns during international travels. Digital photography has made it practically costless for me to capture so much of what I see abroad. Secondly, I am inspired by museums and browsing design books. Like many others, design is a collaborative and iterative field, and designers are constantly learning and borrowing from each other.
Dream travel location?
I’ve bicycled through Scandinavia and Croatia. Now I want to take a cross-country trip through my birth country of Poland.
What music do you listen to in the office?
Classical music such as Vivaldi and female jazz vocalists, such as Diana Krall. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recently released a fabulous album.
Any last words, something you want to share with our readers?
Our work consumes so much of our lives. Be sure to be working on what drives your passion for learning and growing each and every day. Push yourself and never stop learning.