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

Lemon design office in Johannesburg designed by HK Studio
South African multidisciplinary design practice Lemon unveils its new offices in Johannesburg, created in collaboration with HK Studio. Photography: Sarah de Pina
(Image credit: Sarah de Pina)

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".’

TInside Lemon design practice’s office by HK Studio

The stylish new space houses both the studio’s professional team and their production facilities. Photography: Sarah de Pina

(Image credit: Sarah de Pina)

Lemon’s headquarters in Johannesburg

At the same time, the new headquarters also serve as a multi-purpose showroom, displaying the studio’s product range in a work environment. Photography: Sarah de Pina

(Image credit: Sarah de Pina)

HK Studio and Lemon used dark colours for the interior of Lemon’s headquarters

Working with dark colours and a restrained material palette, Lemon and HK Studio created an atmosphere of understated luxury. Photography: Sarah de Pina

(Image credit: Sarah de Pina)

Lemon’s Johannesburg headquarters reflect their brand’s vision

The team drew on their extensive experience in interior design to compose a space that reflects their brand’s vision and values. Photography: Sarah de Pina

(Image credit: Sarah de Pina)


For more information visit the Lemon website and the HK Studio website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).