Esra Lemmens is an Elevation Expert at her namesake, The Esra Lemmens Agency. Lemmens is a designer, art director, author, and lecturer. Based in Dubai, her eponymous consultancy and communications agency enables designers and artists to realize their full potential and position themselves in front of the public. FashionRepublik talks to Lemmens, whose history and business perspectives of design has made her something of an ambassador for contemporary design.
Lemmens expertise in design management and communication have made her a vital part of the design scene today, closely collaborating with studios, platforms, events, labels, museums, galleries and more.
Why did you choose to start your business in the Middle East?
I am very proud of my Dutch roots and growing up in such an inspiring design culture and having enjoyed most my education there has definitely brought me to where I am today. My first encounter with Dubai was in 2007 and I was simply just drawn to Dubai’s sense of optimism, its innovation, the sense of endless possibilities and, most importantly, the pace. Not much later I established the Agency.
You’re the Ambassador for Contemporary Design, tell us more about this role and why?
As Ambassadors of Contemporary Design, the Esra Lemmens Agency always seeks new and exciting ways to maximize the designer’s potential and promote design across the globe. That’s why the Agency offers guidance to designers and their practices, so they can perform what they do best, know best, in a way that is most efficient. By handling design consultancy, project management solutions and public relations guidance, we pave the way for designers to realize their full potential as top-tier influential creatives all over the world. We use our knowledge and network to create an optimized environment which encourages designers to truly thrive.
And how would you rate design in the Middle East, the talent, the potential…?
The Middle East has a hearty appetite for design in general, but it knows many layers, differences as well as similarities. Every scene has its own focus. I believe Dubai is still building on this momentum, the government has rolled out a four-year initiative that it hopes will further cement its design ambitions. If we all give it our best, together with the private sector, and on a personal level – with the Agency we continue to contribute to harnessing talents and cultivating creativity and build towards a sustainable, inclusive, cohesive design scene with everything that we do – we will succeed.
Tell us about your relationship with design and why you believe that design today is grabbing the world’s attention.
The changing role of designers, the designer as entrepreneur. Designers excel in the same roles that make for successful entrepreneurs — to build and to make, to solve problems iteratively and strategically, to bring the user into focus, and to create business value. It’s no surprise that 36% of top venture-backed startups had a designer as a co-founder this year, or that many of the world’s most innovative companies were founded by designtrepreneurs (Airbnb, Vimeo, Pinterest, Slack, and Warby Parker just to name a few).
Tell us about your clients and how you deal with them…
The Esra Lemmens Agency has established a reputable position on the international design scene, thanks to our discretion and our focus on empowering contemporary designers behind the scenes. The agency was founded and initiated by myself, I represent key players and market leaders in the design industry and we act as the propelling force behind numerous successful campaigns and collaborations for major companies and prominent designers. Under our guidance many artists and designers have won prestigious awards. We don’t just work in the Middle East, and we have been acclaimed on the international stage through my lectures and collaboration with well-renowned clientele in Europe, The United States and Asia, as well as the MENA region, we have a worldwide presence. The agency undertakes a crucial role and operates with utmost discretion because of our pivotal position back-end. Dealing with a diverse clientele gives us beneficial and practical experience.