WORDS Robyn Alexander PHOTOS Elsa Young
In a boost to Constitution Hill’s status as a showcase of South African positivity and creativity, a new music recording studio, Flame Studios, has officially opened its doors on the site.
Constitution Hill is home to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, as well as the Flame of Democracy, which burns permanently on the site to remind all its visitors of the democratic ideals of our society. And now, it’s also the home of the Creative Uprising – a movement that will see the heritage site become a symbol of talent development through various venues and programmes.
The latest element in this nascent creative mix is the space pictured on these pages: Constitution Hill’s new recording studio, Flame Studios. Here, music meets South African design, architecture and art in an inspiring showcase of local excellence.
The vibrant and authentic South African aesthetic was designed and implemented by Tracy Lynch, creative director of the Nando’s design programme, and is a cool mix of original elements and pieces created by some of the country’s leading established and emerging designers. “Constitution Hill was a space that detained South African struggle heroes – but things have changed, and this project profoundly reflects the principle of change,” Tracy says. “My intention was to create a dynamic space that shares pieces by local designers. The collaborative approach means that South African design literally becomes part of the furniture. A celebration of remarkable contemporary design, the space embodies our belief in investing in the people of South Africa and showcasing their creativity to the world.”
Among the first artists to record at Flame Studios was MXO, who created his debut EP there in front of a media audience in late 2020. This followed his participation in the Nando’s Music Exchange in London last year, after he had impressed curators on Nando’s in-restaurant station, Heatwave Radio, during a countrywide talent search.
Lance McCormack, music manager at Flame Studios, says that the aim of the venture is to amplify the voices of South Africa’s next generation of musicians, artists and storytellers. “We hope that Flame Studios will encourage more visitors to this inspiring precinct, and mark a new era of atmosphere at Constitution Hill,” he adds.
In short, Flame Studios is a confidently executed step towards building a talent hub at one the country’s premier heritage sites that not only honours our past, but also fuels our future – an ideal that’s brilliantly reflected in this creative space