The Intersection of Function and Beauty: Meet Citra Studio Co-Founder, Jess Lemon
From tinkering with household appliances, to co-founding a business, Jess Lemon uses his expertise to create functional furniture, without sacrificing style.
Jess grew up in small-town central Kansas, spending half his childhood in Belleville before moving to Abilene. Always interested in how things worked, he often spent his free time taking anything and everything he could apart to see how it worked (as for putting it back together, that is a completely different story).
After graduating from Chapman High School, his childhood pastime turned into his future career path. Jess attended Fort Hays State University and obtained both an undergraduate degree in physics, as well as a degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University.
Currently, he works as a Reliability and Rotating Equipment Engineer in McPherson, as well as Citra Studio’s Co-Founder and Design Engineer.
Jess’s educational background and experience in the field of engineering is his biggest influence as a creator. More than any other aspect of design, his focus is always functionality before aesthetics, and using simple solutions to solve design problems.
“I struggle with products that don’t seem to serve their purpose well. If I am designing something, my first start is to focus on the root function of the item, look at pain points of similar items, and try to engineer them out for a better solution.”
And while the intended purpose of an item is key, Jess notes the importance of an object being able to embody the mood and character of a room. Nothing has to be only functional or only beautiful - finding a design that does both allows you to make your home feel authentically yours and be the place you can’t wait to get back to at the end of the day.
“Good design hits you. You don’t understand why you like something so much but you do. The perfect product serves its purpose well functionally, but inspires you aesthetically. A chair should be comfortable first, but if it’s in my cozy den then I want it to emulate relaxation and warmth.”
This marriage of functionality and mood carries into Jess’s personal design aesthetic. He describes his style as a blend, heavily influenced by his love of abstract art. Straight lines and natural wood tones are complemented by abstract accents to create a balance that encompasses the atmosphere of each room.
Despite their differences in personal styles and processes, Jess and fellow Citra Studio co-founder, Kendra, have found balance in their business life, using their complementary design styles to create pieces that are truly unique. The brother-sister duo share a passion for expressive and artistic home goods made from quality materials. This passion drives Citra Studio’s dedication to helping others make their home an extension of their personality, creativity, and joy.
Whether that style is bright and bold or rooted more in artistic simplicity, every piece in Citra Studio’s collection marries function and beauty to create a piece of purposeful art.