Interview: Brian Karno Jan

Brian Karno Jan
Name: Brian Karno Jan

Where do you live: Jakarta, Indonesia

Known for: I’m an interior designer.

Currently working with:
I currently work at an interior design firm in Jakarta as a project designer, in addition to accepting freelance projects outside the office.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
Working in the field of design never occurred to me, much less being an interior designer. It wasn’t something that ran in my family, who were mainly into business and commerce. Back then, a job as a designer didn’t have as much appeal for Indonesians as it does now. Anyway, one day when I was 14 – I was in the 3rd grade in junior high – my big sister gave me this book about modern contemporary interior design as a birthday present. I remember not wanting to open the book until one day I just did and it just blew my mind – not a time passed without me perusing it. From then on my interest in design, particularly interior grew stronger. I craved for all things interior. I would gaze in amazement at beautiful interior spaces and images. That’s when I realized I had passion in this and wanted to make it my professional calling.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Without a doubt, Sweden, even if only for a visit. I’m a huge fan of the philosophy of Scandinavian design. Sweden is one of the greenest countries when you think of its impeccable application of sustainable design. You can’t imagine how much it appeals to me to study sustainable design in a country with outstanding practice in the field. Finally, its breathtaking nature makes me want to experience and explore Sweden.

How would you describe your creativity?
My creativity is to make a design piece that is realizable by combining function, aesthetics and client’s wishes. Without the realization, a design is merely an idea.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
In second year of college, I got my first job as an interior designer. My first freelance project was for a reflexology and spa place in Tangerang, Indonesia. From it I learned the difference between design at school and in the real world in the sense that once you go professional you must deal with not only your clients but also other associated professionals.

What do you do at the moment?
I’m currently working on restaurant, bar and residential projects, all located in my home country Indonesia.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
If my experience tells me something it’s that everyone has equal opportunity to run a creative business. Creativity, perseverance and diligence are the keys of any business, particularly creative business. Most importantly, never stop believing in yourself.

Tell us how it all started.
As I explained, it started with a chance interest back at junior high, which I in turn pursued at college and got the first paid job doing what I love. Since then, it seems my life is never very far from the realms of design and creativity.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
To me, it’s essential to have the computer in the studio. You just can’t do without the computer when it comes to collecting data and implementing a design.

What is your favorite film?
Into the Wild.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Sylvia Earle. I’m a huge fan of what she does and her dedication to the environment, mainly the marine world. Scuba diving with her would be a huge bonus!

How do you like to spoil yourself?
Listening to music, especially indie is how I most often spoil myself. I also always take pleasure in catching up with family and friends on weekends. And when I have a long holiday, I prefer to travel to places I’ve never been before – not the fancy, expensive kind – I’d take staying in a guest house, spending time in the nature and with locals. I happen to be a designer who enjoys travel a lot because to me it opens your eyes while broadening your view and gets you used to new things. Traveling brings with it an interest in photography, so a camera is a must-have item on my traveling checklist.

What is luxury for you?
Exploring the world.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
I didn’t use to be the confident person that I am now. I didn’t use to see myself on equal measure with others, that I didn’t do as well as others. I was struggling with this thought and I knew that I had to push myself to strive to do better and better, which I did. I guess the fruit couldn’t be more evident than when I presented my final project at college. My supervisor said that he was proud of my work because I had pushed my own boundaries and limits. I always use his words to motivate myself and be confident in my own abilities.

What do you fear most?
The thing I fear most is ceasing to have a positive impact on others because I believe that we were born to positively impact others. If you think about it, you get in to a profession in order to give benefit to others, don’t you? Let’s see, my goal as an interior designer is to produce the best work for my clients, which in turn gives them satisfaction and happiness. Same goes for pilots and farmers, pilots help you get from point A to point B faster and easier, on the other hand farmers take care of the crop so we don’t have to take to the field. Therefore, no matter what we do, I believe it’s our basic instinct to try and have a positive impact to the society.

What is a happy life to you?
I believe a happy life is a balanced life.

What does a regular day look like for you?
Getting up around 6.30 am, getting ready, heading to the studio, grabbing a cup of coffee with a bit of sugar, working on projects in the studio with colleagues while music is playing. Sometimes I go out to meet my clients, suppliers or visit the project sites. End of the day I go home, take a shower, grab dinner while watching my favorite local sitcom, browse the internet and go to sleep.

Tell us about your dream project.
To start a design firm specializing in designing buildings along the sustainability theme so as to produce works that are not only seen as an object but also to be part of nature and the environment, therefore contributing positively, rather than negatively, to the environment.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
I can’t just say one name; they’re Hans Wegner, Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha Hadid.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
Actually I would call my design style versatile, depending on the job in question, but personally Scandinavian, Contemporary and Industrial styles are my preferences.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
The most important thing in my life is wisdom. I’m still learning to become someone who has ultimate. Wisdom is not compassion; wisdom is not experience; wisdom is not logic and wisdom is not intelligence. It is the central point of all that.

What inspires you?
Everything. Everything can inspire me: nature, people, buildings, music, memories, and even dreams – Every single thing.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
The book that’s made a huge impression is Oh My Goodness: Buku Pintar Seorang Creative Junkies by Yoris Sebastian. He’s a famous Indonesian creative practitioner who became the General Manager of Hard Rock Café at the age of 26. His creative breakthroughs have made positive impacts on many people. The book teaches me to be creative in professional contexts and otherwise. It’s convinced me that creativeness is not genetic; it comes from habit and that you can awaken and train it.

Connect with Brian via Instagram @briankarnojan
Check out his profile on Behance 
Send an E-mail to him

Tomodachi-Sukabumi Asian-Fusion-Restaurant Max-One-Rooftop1 Max-One-Rooftop2 NEST-Reflexology-&-Spa The-Archipelago

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