Flame Studios, Tracy Lynch, Nandos, Johannesburg, Traditional design, Geometric patterns, Vibrant, Heritage

Burning up for Flame Studios

We went beyond the walls of the newly launched Flame Studios at Constitutional Hill and had a chat with Tracy Lynch, the creative mastermind behind the design of this vibrant South African music recording studio. 

Since opening its doors in February this year, Flame Studios’ interiors have been making waves across design circles in South Africa. This world-class music recording studio stands proudly on Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg and celebrates South Africa’s distinctive and authentic aesthetic. 

The interior was the brainchild of Tracy Lynch of Studio Lee Lynch and the Nando’s design programme. Tracy’s approach to the studio was collaborative and only included pieces that are designed and made locally. Not only are we here for this approach because it celebrates South African heritage, but it also invests in our local artists by showcasing their talent to the rest of the world. 

Speaking of, we adore the bold use of colour, the plush furniture and the tribal African patterns that are flaunted on the walls of the studio. Not only has Tracy cleverly integrated bold colours with monochromatic tones, but she has also chosen furniture with a playful twist on traditional designs. 

The result is a bold and textured interior which draws attention to hand-crafted details that bring vibrant life to the extraordinary space. 

The best of both worlds

Tracy says that she wanted to showcase emerging designers that reference South African culture and history in their work, but also balance the studio with elegant and functional pieces from more established local designers. 

“The designers I included speak a language of rebirth and transformation. They have found new ways of expressing our South African heritage, of making creative connections and building community. Storytelling is their focus, design is their chosen tool,” says Tracy. 

Some of the key pieces (we are gushing over) that Tracy selected for the studio include those by TheUrbanativeMash. T Design StudioPedersen and LennardDokter and Misses and Siyanda Mbele – to name but a few. 

Supporting local designers is more than just a passion for Tracy, it’s a principle on which she has built her career. She also believes that we all have a responsibility to amplify social challenges and help find solutions. 

“Building on this idea and sharing our unique aesthetic helps us dive deeper into aspects of our shared evolution,” she affirms. 

Projects like Flame Studios go beyond the conventional ways of sharing a nation’s history for Tracy. Instead, it is an opportunity to find our voices and tell beautiful stories we need to remember so that we can all see the future differently. 

“Design can change the way we experience the past so we can craft the future with intention and it’s a privilege to be part of this creative journey,” says Tracy. 

Honouring the past

Although Constitutional Hill is a dynamic and logical space to begin exploring new creative possibilities, Tracy and her team worked hard to honour its location and history. 

If you’re out of the loop on this one, Constitutional Hill was once a place where South African struggle heroes were detained and represents a formative time in our country’s history that deserves to be marked. This history was acknowledged by leaving the exterior untouched. 

Giant frames were also built on the inside of the spaces and clad with stretched fabric. Tracy adds that the cut-outs were framed and had glass panels installed so that the walls with their aged patina were visible. 

“[These] were also lit up, making them even more of a design feature. All of the furniture is free standing so as not to impact the building and accentuate the fact that the space has its own identity, history and layered purpose,” Tracy recalls. 

We have no doubt that the story of Flame Studios will continue to inspire, connect us to a creative and cultural landscape of South Africa and become a space for storytelling, whether it be through music, art or design. 

One thing is for certain, we agree with Tracy: the merging of art, contemporary architecture and interior design in this space is an expression of the creative energy of young South African thinkers and designers. 

Words: Rachele Button 
Production: Rachele Button and Jean-Pierre de la Chaumette 
Images: Supplied

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