Grey scale: Johannesburg’s latest design atelier is an industrial revelation
Founded in 2009 by designer Mia Widlake, Studio 19 is a Johannesburg design consultancy renowned for creating some of the region’s slickest retail, hospitality and residential spaces. As well as recent interior projects, such as the new Johannesburg tea room and flagship store for Luxury African tea brand Yswara, Studio 19 has been producing its own product range since 2012, which is sold in boutiques across South Africa and Europe.
With so much going on, it’s no surprise that the atelier has quickly outgrown its small boutique in upper Kramerville, where it has been based for the past six months. With a pressing need for additional space to display its ever-growing product line, last month the studio upped sticks and relocated to a vast space in Johannesburg Design District’s lower Kramerville precinct development, which sits in an old industrial corner of the city. The immaculately styled result is a cross between a converted warehouse apartment and functioning office.
’Having never thought of ourselves as being or having a shop,’ explains owner and founder, Mia Widlake ‘we have found that our clients would like to spend time in our space discussing their designs and getting an actual feel for our product offering and lifestyle experience.’
Studio 19’s new atelier in Johannesburg’s Design District
As well as the the studio’s own product range, which is refreshed every 12 months, the new space showcases the studio’s flair for creating refined interiors with warmth and individuality. The building’s existing polished concrete floors and ceiling are teamed with new black crittall windows, while walls are painted in moody shades of pale and deep grey.
‘The industrial touches were what appealed to us the most,’ explains Widlake. ‘Since Johannesburg is lacking historical buildings we tried to find something with a bit of grit.’ To wit, dark and light spaces add drama, while use of natural materials such as stone, leather, wood, linen, steel, aged bronze and smoky glass combine to create the studio’s signature look. In addition, the studio’s new abode has both indoor and outdoor meeting spaces for deliberating over design concepts with clients and partners.
‘We wanted our clients to feel what it’s like to live in a space designed by us,’ says Widlake, before adding, ‘we also spend an unnatural amount of time working in the studio, and we feel that order to be productive you need to be comfortable.’