Lemon Design Studio’s Showroom

WORDS Julia Freemantle IMAGES Inge Prins PORTRAIT Dook STYLING Sanri Pienaar

A visit to Lemon design studio’s showroom in Cape Town is an immersive and inspirational experience.

The growth of a local brand is always worth celebrating – it’s proof that homegrown designers are expanding and succeeding. Design studio Lemon’s journey over the past decade has been gradual, but looking back to its origins as a custom print outfit, the evolution is significant.

From print products such as artwork and wallpaper (still a core range for the company, and proudly designed in-house) to statement furniture pieces, the diversification speaks to co-founder Kevin Frankental’s vision to create collections of pieces that complement one another and can work in any environment – commercial, retail or residential.

A revolving display of pieces by local designers Jade Paton, Louis Olivier, Richard Penn, Johann Moolman and Michele Matheson.

The latest step in this process is a showroom in Cape Town – a conscious move to create a space that showcases the products in a working environment, and allows clients to see the craftsmanship up close. It’s located in an elegant heritage building in Bo-Kaap just off Buitengracht Street, chosen for its accessibility to the city, and for its charm. The showroom was designed by longtime Lemon collaborator Yaniv Chen of Master Studio to be a space to purposefully visit, rather than pass by. Kevin’s goal is to spread the message of quality with which so many local brands are synonymous, by encouraging interaction with the designs.

“There’s a wealth of talent in South Africa,” he says. “A central part of our ethos is to work with artists, designers and manufacturers to create special pieces and patterns.”

While shapes are often kept simple, Lemon’s selection of textures and approach to finishes are paramount.

He’s passionate about exposing local design to the world – and even, as strange as it may sound, to South Africans. He believes that too often, local buyers favour imported product over options made on home soil, and he’s determined to play a role in changing this. “Our designs can compete on a global stage,” he says. “We have the manufacturing and design skills – something I don’t think enough people realise.”

With Lemon having opened a studio in Amsterdam, Kevin and his brand will have plenty of opportunities to spread this message.

For more information, visit lemon.za.com.