Behind a décor design brand in the small town of Stellenbosch

Mia Danieli tells us why sustainability and natural materials form the heart of Mia Mélange.
Posted 26 Nov 15 By Design Indaba Product Design Interviews / Q&A Comments
homeware by Mia Mélange
homeware by Mia Mélange

Mia Mélange, founded by Mia Danieli, is a Stellenbosch-based studio specialising in handcrafted home design. The label is founded on a basis of quality, sustainability and a deep love for natural materials and ancient techniques. Here, Danieli tells us about the values and design philosophy that underpin her brand.

What is your design mission?

My mission is to shed a light on the true value of handmade products and craftsmanship. I believe that we as a society need to realise the importance of supporting locally made products and challenge our western consumerist mindset, which doesn’t care about the origin of our purchased goods, nor the ethics by which they were produced. 

Was there anything you experienced growing up that steered you towards having a career in design?

Not anything specific, but perhaps my constant questioning of everything and ongoing desire to improve the way things are. Questioning in itself is the foundation of all good design.

How do you juggle running a successful company with being creative?

Thinking creatively comes very naturally to me, so no matter where I am or what I do, I am inspired by my surroundings and I get new ideas all the time.  The most rewarding part about being a designer is the ability to see obstacles as opportunities instead of disadvantages, in different areas of life.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating?

I am an introvert, so working alone comes very naturally to me, but I really enjoy collaborating when it’s with like-minded people that let each other express themselves equally rather than overpowering one another. 

Which of your fellow designers do you admire?

So many! One of them would definitely be Laduma Ngkoxolo. His ability to use his rich heritage to create distinctively African knitwear with a fresh and modern twist stuns me.

What excites you most about the way the industry is changing?

It’s exciting to see that more and more designers care about their producers as much as their products as well as the impact that their businesses can make in a specific community.

Watch the Talk with Issa Diabaté