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Jack of All Trades, Master of All

An efficacious self-taught Danish designer, Johannes Torpe is what some would describe as a jack of all trades.

From a musician, lighting designer and club owner to furniture designer, restaurant owner and interior designer, Johannes Torp has proven that formal training isn’t a necessary prerequisite to success in the design industry. As the founder of his eponymous global design firm Johannes Torpe Studios, he has worked with an impressive lineup of clients including Hay, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana and Skype, and up until his exit last year, Bang & Olufsen as creative director.

Torpe’s unique childhood has helped to inform his own trajectory, which has seen him carve out parallel careers stradling every aspect of the creative industries. The 43-year-old designer was raised by bohemian parents on a hippy commune in Denmark and taught to think freely, which saw him leave home at age 12 to play the drums. After teaching himself how to curate sound and light, Torpe started his own business at just 17, becoming one of the most sought-after lighting designers in Denmark. Since then he has established his own studio in Copenhagen even recorded a number one pop hit, Calabria.

His compelling background has helped shape Torpe into a character that challenges the way things have always been done. Last year he embarked on a fellowship with the Architectural Department of Westminster University in London to begin a PhD. With minimal to no schooling, formal study or qualifications to his name, Torpe isn’t phased. “I’m extremely comfortable being uncomfortable,” he quips. He’s even writing a book about it all.

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