This week we are exploring the world of Studio 11:11 – made of two designers from the opposite ends of the world – Marijne from Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Annabel from Marlborough, New Zealand. The work of this confident duo, based in Melbourne, Australia, is inspired by interior design, architectural processes and natural materials resulting in beautiful products of pure minimalism.
MARIJNE, HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
We met at work; we were colleagues at an interior design studio in Melbourne. After graduating from art school in 2009 I went travelling, met an Australian man and moved to Melbourne a few years later, where I joined this interior design studio. Annabel studied Architecture in Wellington, then worked as an architect for a few years, took some time off to travel and then ended up in Melbourne working as an interior designer in the same studio.
HOW DID YOU GET IN TO DESIGN AND WHY ACCESSORIES DESIGN IN PARTICULAR?
We discovered our love for simple but refined spaces and products after working together at the design studio. During this time we decided to create a product of our own. We think of design holistically – designing accessories is not all that different to designing a building in terms of the process. We never made a conscious decision to design accessories specifically; we just wanted to explore leather as a medium.
WHAT HAS PROMPTED YOU TO ESTABLISH YOUR OWN LABEL, DOES ITS NAME Studio 11:11 MEAN ANYTHING SPECIFIC?
We designed our first bag purely out of interest in the process and as an experiment. We found it so enjoyable and rewarding that we decided to create Studio 11:11. Is should represent “time-less-ness & intrigue”.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR BAGS?
We design high-end leather products that are locally made by very talented leather crafters in Melbourne. Our architectural background influences the way we create our bags. We like to experiment with materials, processes and techniques that are commonly used in architecture but perhaps less common in the fashion world.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FASHION WORLD?
We try to challenge the world of fast fashion by creating a connection and awareness between the customer and their product. There is so much that goes into each bag and we want to share that process with the end-user.
HOW DOES A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE AS DESIGNERS LOOK LIKE?
Waking up early. Coffee. Work from home. Shop for materials. Meet up with our leather crafters.
WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO BASED? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT ITS LOCATION?
As a small business we mainly work from home or in various cafe’s and bars around Melbourne. We find it enjoyable moving around the city and being flexible whilst continually being inspired by
Melbourne. We visit our leather crafters’ workshops at least once a week to run through the designs and the various challenges that arise.
WHAT DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
The starting point can come from any direction. We look around, sketch, drink coffee, collect materials, talk a lot, do a lot of odd hand movements and fold things from scraps of paper that are lying around. We’re really fast at this and we know when we’re done because we both feel the need to high-five each other! Then we draw up the design in CAD and take it to our leather guru here in Melbourne. After that we prototype it – during this time we are refining the design and trialing different ways of constructing it until we’re happy with it.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK, HOW DO NEW IDEAS COME TO YOU?
We keep our eyes open, we experiment and we question everything. We look at craftsmanship of all kinds – architecture, furniture, art, photography and jewellery. We share a lot of inspiration on our Instagram as well. We’re very much about sharing our ideas with others, and in turn being inspired by others.
WHICH MATERIALS DO YOU PREFER TO WORK WITH?
Natural materials. If you use them for their inherent qualities they do half the designing for you. Leather, metal, timber and stone are materials we are familiar with because of our interior design background.
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORK, WHAT INSPIRED IT?
For our most current design we’re exercising restraint by stripping back every element that is not necessary. We are really trying to explore the potential of minimalism.
ANY FUTURE COLLECTION PLANS?
Yes, we are currently working on a wallet and a small tote bag… coming soon!
WHAT FUTURE DO YOU IMAGINE FOR YOUR BRAND? DO YOU THINK YOUR FOCUS WILL STAY ON BAGS?
The idea to branch out from accessories has definitely been on our mind. For us it’s more about the process and the experimentation and less about a specific outcome so we are open to all options. We are also interested in working with other designers with different skill sets. We love collaborating because we learn so much from how other artists/designers work.
WHAT MINIMALISM MEANS TO YOU?
Functional, restrained, as little design as possible but never boring.