South African agency Lemon’s refined Johannesburg home unites design and production

South African agency Lemon’s refined Johannesburg home unites design and production

Johannesburg’s Kramerville is one of the city’s hottest design districts, full of creative businesses and a thriving restaurant and bar scene; it is also where multidisciplinary design firm Lemon chose to set up its new home.

When Lemon co-founders Kevin and Ricky Frankental discovered a raw, industrial building there – a former hydraulic-parts factory – that had so far miraculously escaped regeneration, they instantly knew it was the perfect shell for their new headquarters. The stucture’s brutalist character was ideal for accommodating the Frankentals’ ambition to create a mixed-use hub that would combine offices with production facilities.

The three-storey 1500 sq m former factory was redesigned by Lemon in partnership with Hesse Kleinloog Studio to accommodate administrative areas, manufacturing, production, and design offices. With the studio’s work spanning from graphic to product design, flexible spaces that could accommodate multiple uses, from the traditional, office workspace to the messy, industrial and handcrafted, were a must.

Collaboration and cross-referencing between departments is invaluable in the practice’s daily operations and values, so ‘it was critical to have the entire operation under one roof’, explain Lemon. The new interior is now designed to encourage communication between the company’s 46 team members.

Not simply a workspace, the new headquarters also functions as a showcase of Lemon's work. The overall atmosphere is one of understated luxury, with rich fabrics, dark colours and refined, clean lines. ‘Our belief is that beautiful and functional spaces improve the quality of life’, they say. ‘When conceptualising our own space, we wanted to demonstrate how our products could be used in our “perfect world, a theatre for our work".’