Interview with Charlotte Lancelot: Canevas Geo

Born in Brussels, Charlotte Lancelot studied at the Industrial department of the “Ecole Nationale des Arts Visuels de la Cambre” in Brussels, where she was graduated with honors in 2003. She first worked with the Belgian architect and designer Alain Berteau for two years, before setting up her own studio.

Her work links emotion to everyday objects, going beyond functionality to bring wellbeing and joy into our life. Her approach results in a careful balance between innovation, function, production methods, aesthetics and social and environmental considerations.

In addition to GAN, she has collaborated with renowned international brands such as Woud, Koziol, Konstantin Slawinski, Kidslab, Easyoga, sdesign, rvb, and le MUDAM.

Since 2008, she teaches design at the National School of Arts ESA St Luc Brussels, where student’s master’s projects are a source of exchange and inspiration.

What drew you to product design?
Creating is a second nature. As a child, I manufactured clothes for my dolls, I built or transformed my toys and organized my room with huts. At the age of eighteen I hesitated between fashion design and architecture, before discovering the fascinating work of Verner Pantone. Design allows for a combination of textile and interiors and reflects our way of living. In that sense, design allows me to influence positively our environment and social issues.

You first collection for GAN was in 2012. How you did first encounter the brand, and how did the collaboration start?
In 2006, I introduced my first Canevas prototype at the Salon Satellite during Salone del Mobile in Milano. Mapi Millet, GAN´s Director, visited the stand when I was out but showed her interest by leaving her business card. In the meantime, I had started a collaboration with Ligne Roset that failed. I then contacted GAN, which responded positively and helped to improve the project technically and aesthetically. As an industrial designer, it was a great chance to get to know the textile industry better.

With Canevas, you brought cross-stitch embroidery to a large scale. Three years later you presented Silaï, recovering old embroidery patterns and looking for equilibrium in composition. Now, again three years later, you present Canevas Geo. How has this last collection evolved?
The primary objective of the Canevas collection was to highlight the magnificence of this traditional technique by creating oversized cross-stitches in contemporary products. Creating a reference to our heritage was essential to me, by choosing both the pattern and the rose. The removal of some stitches is a reference to time passed.

The objective of the Canevas Geo collection was to further explore the possibilities of the technique. My interest was to assemble surfaces that overlap to create a game of lines, colors and « transparency » with an opaque matter. The carpet indeed results of the intertwining of three textures, creating areas of different color and density. The unique color of the textile is obtained by the subtle combination of yarns in different colors. This is best revealed by oversizing the process.

Do you look for sustainability in design? How do you think you approach this subject in your work with GAN?
Sustainability is of daily concern in my work, even if concessions have to be made. The Canevas collection is 100% made of wool and natural colors. For Silaï, however the desired natural base was not available but the rugs are also handmade, which adds value to a product that doesn’t require Grey Energy.

What other projects are you working into at the moment?
With GAN, we are working on several collections including one tufted and two weaved. An outdoor collection is also in progress.
Furthermore,I am working on new furniture pieces made of wood and printed patterns in collaboration with the Danish brand WOUD.