SURFACE DESIGN || Interview with Annie Chen of Lemonni

I was immediately drawn to the colourful and light-hearted pattern designs by Lemonni after an unexpected encounter in Annie’s studio years ago. I remember looking at the studio wall covered with patterned works and imagined how nice they would look as wallpapers in my home.

Select pattern designs from Lemonni.

Lemonni was founded by self-taught graphic designer Annie Chen in 2013, where her deep love for prints and pattern at a young age inspired her to start her own brand. Their signature vibrant colours with clean lines create a distinctive style. Tasteful motifs in the form recognizable objects are often repeated just the right amount of times - creating art pieces that keep your eyes busy and your heart content.

Although it has been years since our encounter, Lemonni’s adorable designs always came to mind whenever I was reminded of surface patterns. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to reach out to Annie for a few questions regarding her path and her craft. I was excited to learn about her recent collaboration with local furniture design brand Willow and Stump, an exciting venture for her into the industrial design world.
 

A: Annie Chen

P: Pendulum Magazine
 

P: What inspired you to become a pattern artist?

A: I’ve always loved patterns since I was little. I used to collect letterheads with pretty prints on them when I was a kid. Back then, I didn't know that the love for patterns could lead a creative career. So when I discovered Orla Kiely and her wonderful prints on all kinds of products, I told myself that one day I want to be like her.  In 2012, I was offered a job position as an art director at an ad agency, but the offer was withdrawn 3 weeks later before I started. That’s when I decided to be my own boss and started my own business.


P: We love the distinctive style that is prominent in your designs. What are some of your inspirations behind them?

A: I’m inspired by midcentury modern design, especially the simplicity of it. A lot of my designs are also inspired by nature and animals.

Annie Chen in her studio with her beloved dog Sammy.

P: What would you most like to see your prints on?

A: I would love to see my design on cars, buildings, and umbrellas!
 

P: What is next for you? Where do you want your life and career to go?

For work, I would love to collaborate with more people from different fields - learn and experiment more in the potential places where I can apply my designs. In life, I would like to adopt another dog, and perhaps rescue more animals if I can in the future.

P: What past projects are you most proud of and why?

A: I really enjoyed my recent project, The Traverse Collection, which I collaborated with local furniture design studio Willow & Stump.

I’m proud because the process was quite challenging. Incorporating surface design in industrial design was a whole new territory for me, since I was used to dealing with 2-dimensional designs. I had to push myself to think beyond that. I’ve also learned so much from the two amazing designers of Willow & Stump during the process. It was definitely an invaluable experience.
 

P: How did the collaboration opportunity with Willow and Stump come about?

A: I met Kaly and Bram from Willow & Stump at IDS West in 2016. Their booth stood out for me because of their playful designs and use of colours. I thought that it would be so cool if I could collaborate with them, so I got in touch with them after the show to see if they were interested in a collaboration. It turns out they also wanted to experiment with new materials other than wood. We started to meet weekly after that, brainstorming ideas, building prototypes and refining them. We debuted our Traverse Collection at a show called Address Assembly in May, 2017.

The collection is available on both our websites www.lemonni.com & www.willowandstump.com  as well as in our studios.

THE TRASVERSE COLLECTION

West coast modern styling and bold, playful patterns come together in The Traverse Collection by Vancouver designers Lemonni and Willow & Stump Furniture Design. The collaboration features functional ash furniture with a variety of textile accents.

The resulting five-piece collection marries wood with pattern in new and exciting ways, while maintaining values of quality craftsmanship, local production, and functionality.

Left to right scroll:

  1. Traverse Tray
  2. Traverse Pendant
  3. Traverse Convertible Ottoman
  4. Sea to Sky Wall Lights

 

We appreciate Annie for taking time to chat about her upcoming collection with us. We can’t wait to see more upcoming projects involving Lemonni! Visit her website for more delightful designs guaranteed to put a smile on your face.