Meet Studio 19
It all began with a humble tea towel and the inability to sit still for more than five minutes.
Mia Widlake is the creative genius behind Studio 19, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Johannesburg. Studio 19 is a dab hand in everything from product and furniture design, to interiors and ceramics.
Studio 19 was created by Mia in 2009 after playing around with some designs for a black and white tea towel. Her career had shifted from fashion designer to art director in the film industry and then to store stylist. But true to her Gemini disposition, Mia was soon looking for the next creative adventure.
“I would never be able to do only one thing at a time,” she says. “If I can’t find a great wall light, then I want to make it. If I can’t find the right ottoman, then I want to make that too. So you end up with a whole bunch of different skills rather than just sticking to one particular thing.”
The tea towel led to the design of other products, ultimately evolving into what we know as Studio 19 today. The bespoke furniture, distinctive accessories and minimalistic spaces are easily recognisable through a blend of their signature monochrome colours and patterns, natural materials and neutral textures.
The practical and oh-so-pretty collection includes a mixture of lighting, including pendants, hanging lights and standing lamps (we love the Canopy Pendant and Table Butler), wall posters, cushion covers (we can’t get enough of this scratchy copper cover), minimalistic furniture and illustrated homeware. Materials used for these range from oak and copper, resin and clay to brass, metal and stone.
“Much of what we create and design comes out of necessity. Not too long ago I was asked to make a water feature, something modern, interesting and unusual. I had never done it before so I had to do some research and be really creative. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment at Studio 19. Thinking on your feet and being resourceful plays a large role in that,” says Mia.
One of the key aspects of the business involves collaboration with other designers, artists and manufacturers. The philosophy behind collaborations stems from the concept that no one can live an isolated life; ideas need to be shared and opinions need to be heard in order to be successful. It’s this notion that has seen Studio 19 collaborating with the likes of Mr Price Home, artisanal eatery Ginger and Fig and concept deli Fuel Food.
Currently, the small team of four find great joy in designing interiors for restaurants and retail spaces. “These kinds of projects are always very interesting,” says Mia. “We’ve recently done the Yswara Tea Room in the Maboneng Precinct. It’s in a heritage building so there were a lot of constraints and challenges – but that’s what makes it fun.”
Both Mia and the business have been featured in many of South Africa’s top interior design magazines and blogs, including VISI, Elle Decoration, SA House and Leisure and between 10 and 5. Studio 19 has also exhibited their gorgeous home-ware range and Butler lamps at Design Indaba in 2014 and at Maison et Objet Paris in 2014 and 2016.
Studio 19’s new showroom in Kramerville will be open to the public from May. Pop by and be inspired by their world of design.
[Did you know?] Mia’s top five favourite Instagram accounts: