Leg Studios: The local design talent is incredible

From third person brand design to first person furniture design and the finer detail in between.

From installations to self-initiated designs, Leg Studios has built a rich and varied portfolio in the South African design space. In this exclusive interview, the trio behind the local studio tell us about the interesting dynamic that is revealed in their work due to their coming from different design backgrounds. 

Leon Erasmus, architectural designer; Giulia Odendaal, set designer; and Tim Richert, interior designer, founded the multidisciplinary design studio together in 2006. Since then they have designed retail spaces, corporate exhibitions, nightlife events, brand activations, televised productions and, now, furniture. 

“We have worked on a lot of consumer brand engagement spaces where the look and feel is dictated by the brand,” says Erasmus. “So in 2014 we wanted to start a new venture where our point of view comes across rather than a brand’s, and that’s where our furniture design element came from.”

They go on to explain that through designing furniture, they are able to focus on finer detail to a greater extent. 

As their individual design backgrounds vary, their approaches to design are also somewhat different. “We design in isolation for the first part before coming together to understand one another’s interpretation of the brief,” says Erasmus. Seeing something from three different angles allows them to combine a creative and comprehensive response to any design brief. 

For Leg Studios, the biggest challenge facing designers in South Africa today is manufacturing costs and how these affect the retail price of an item. “The talent in the country is incredible. The design stories we have to share are highly rated all over the world, but it would be nice to see investment back into manufacture so that South African design can be sold internationally,” he says.

At Design Indaba Expo 2015, Leg Studios will be showcasing a range specifically designed for the exhibition. The focus of the collection is on contrasting materials – specifically copper and raw materials. “It’s a playful and design-orientated collection,” says Odendaal.