Chatting local design, decor trends and inspiration with Mia Widlake, the Founder of Studio 19, you can’t help but feel inspired by the future of South African design…
Widlake’s versatile nature and curious spirit led her into a thriving career focused around a passion for local talent, and ultimately to establish what is one of South Africa’s leading multidisciplinary design agencies.
“I lived in the United States for a few years and when I came back to South Africa, noticed how many products weren’t available here,” explains Widlake. Noticing this gap in the market, Studio 19 was born as a product design company, using local artisans to create beautiful interior items, which in time led to establishing the company as a bespoke interior design agency.
The rich tones of Studio 19’s product design translate further into their projects, showcasing local product design that has not come without its challenges. Widlake furthers that while South Africa has its own set of difficulties when manufacturing items such as lighting and furniture, there is a dynamism that isn’t found elsewhere in the world.
“Africa is rising” reiterates Widlake, speaking of the heightened awareness and interest in products coming out of Africa. Studio 19 has celebrated great success in marketing their products in overseas markets.
Commenting on rising design trends from international markets, Widlakes admits that while South Africa has limitations, Studio 19 sees these as an opportunity to reveal the talents of local suppliers. In addition, younger designers are experimenting and pushing for local design elements in their projects more than has been seen in the past.
Written by: Kate Els
Images: Supplied by Studio 19