The Creative Evolution Of Johann Bona’s Industrial-Style Abode

Photographer Johann Bona cultivates a warm and inviting atmosphere to soften the hard elements of his industrial-style home in Canada.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s August 2023 Issue.

Everything about an empty industrial space in Toronto rang the bell for photographer Johann Bona and his wife, Paula. It had 15- foot ceilings, brick walls, massive windows all around and, to the relief of Bona, didn’t

need too many repairs. “We renovated just the bathroom and kitchen,” Bona says. But it was the light that made them decide to move in.

Apart from the earthy colors and organic furniture and decor, the generous distance between the objects create a relaxed and inviting vibe.
Apart from the earthy colors and organic furniture and decor, the generous distance between the objects create a relaxed and inviting vibe.

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“The view is quite beautiful but above all, light is the most important to us,” Bona admits. “When we found out that sunlight enters the space from sunrise to sunset, we were sold!” He envisioned a mixed-use space that had the flexibility for domestic purposes as well as a studio that’s available for hourly or daily rentals. “It is used for photography, films, documentaries, ad campaigns, intimate events, portraits, engagements, etc.,” adds Bona.

With its ample light, double-height ceilings and open layout, Bona realized the potential of his Toronto apartment as both a home and creative studio.
With its ample light, double-height ceilings and open layout, Bona realized the potential of his Toronto apartment as both a home and creative studio.

FREE TO CREATE

One other feature appealed to the photographer – the unpartitioned character of the space which gave him the freedom to work with an open layout. “The plan for the layout was largely instinctive,” Bona explains. “I designed it the way I compose or create my images, actually. Any creative output I produce comes from a personal philosophy that has evolved over the course of my career.”

The vintage cabinet was with the original owners for decades before being offered for sale online. Various objects, including the antique vase from Bona's mother, are displayed on top.
The vintage cabinet was with the original owners for decades before being offered for sale online. Various objects, including the antique vase from Bona’s mother, are displayed on top.

In the years since moving in back in 2020, Bona and his wife have softened the hard elements of the industrial space by adhering to a gentle, earthy palette. They also added carefully considered pieces with an organic vibe and that appealed to their modern taste to complement their growing collection of antique, vintage, and collectible furniture and decor. Both sourced around their area during the lockdowns, before traveling back to the Philippines to purchase more pieces to add to their collection.

The dining table (with wooden bowls and trays from Baguio) was originally a harvest table used by the Mennonites in the 1800s; the side cabinet was purchased online.
The dining table (with wooden bowls and trays from Baguio) was originally a harvest table used by the Mennonites in the 1800s; the side cabinet was purchased online.

From a vintage shop in a small town called Paris just outside Toronto, they were able to purchase a beautiful table, which Bona says

was “originally made as a harvest table by the Mennonites in the 1800’s, even the nails used were old.” The vintage side cabinet near it actually belonged to a family for decades, before being offered online. “The couple who owned it was moving to a smaller space and none of their children wanted it,” Bona recalls. “Good for us!”

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia August 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos by Johann Bona. 

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