Transcribed by Marissa Osman
Dora Bodrogi: Thank you for inviting us. This is amazing.
Miraphora Mina: Oh, I'm so glad you like it.
Dora: I've been to the Greek Street address, and it was charming but a bit crammed. So I'm almost speechless. So this lockdown period has been a bit weird for everyone, especially in the entertainment and art industry. Were you always going to move, or was that just something you thought you'd do during the lockdown now that you can.
Miraphora: Well, it's a combination of circumstances. We were looking for a building where we could have our studio and a shop in one building. The idea was to keep Greek Street because it was so successful and everyone loved it, and maybe trial a new thing here. So maybe to develop our other work here, to keep them separate. And then lockdown happened, and for various reasons - like you said - there's no way we could have continued to operate in the restricted spaces with all the challenges of staffing a multi-floor building. Without being gloomy, there was some very dark challenges to stay there. So we very rapidly, I think, we were at the thing of like, "Either we just shut everything down, or do we keep the momentum going and just try our best to reinvent ourselves in a way?" We also knew that if we moved, we were very nervous to not be able to keep that spirit of what we'd achieved at Greek Street. So we've got all the best things to try and evolve rather than try and recreate inch by inch. So my analogy is the Greek Street address is like the child and this is the grownup. This is the lady.
[Dora and Miraphora laugh]
Miraphora: You know, the architecture is different. You always feel like you have a conversation with a space, and it starts to tell you. When we first moved here it was like an office. So these two floors that we're on now, it was brown carpet tiles and neon ceiling. It took a while even for me to fall in love with the building, but once we started to paint and design the fittings...
Dora: Yeah, this is really cool.
Miraphora: ...try and create a new energy for it, but still at the core of it was to have the theater of retail rather than just a shop. Strangely, actually, this is the same square footage as Greek Street; it's just distributed differently so it works better. So whilst we have the four floors piled up like that, it feels bigger but actually, it's similar. I think it's been really nice having the gallery as a defined space and the shop area as a defined space.
Dora: I have to ask you about the owls. Have you been collecting them yourself?
Miraphora: We've been collecting them for a while. There's so many things like I was saying, things develop organically. When you've been here for the last six weeks you have all the plans and all the drawings for how it's going to be, but as you're in a space you start to go, "Oh, actually this space is telling me this or that," so there were loads of things that were here that were in the other shop that were muddled up and now we've got space to breathe. I think you can actually focus on things. And we were saying the other day, "Oh, no, they're going to have to go all the way along there." We wondered whether we should invite people to bring an owl.
Miraphora: Not that I'm asking for presents, but. [laughs] Our old and loyal customers, if they come traveling from abroad or something they can bring us an owl and it will go up.
Dora: That's a headline. "Send owls!".
Miraphora: Yes! [laughs]
Lizzie Glaister: Donate an owl.
Miraphora: Donate an owl. Hanshtag.
[Dora and Miraphora laugh]
Dora: But during lockdown I think you kept our spirits up. I sent my friend one of those free cards for essential workers.
Miraphora: Aw, thank you!
Dora: She was so thrilled. She's so overworked and she was so thrilled.
Miraphora: It gave me an excuse to actually sit down, and be creative, and buy myself a new printer. [laughs] It was my partner who said, as well, "What can we do at home before we can go back to our print studio?"
Dora: That's why it was so delightful to see the new prints, as well. The Marauder's Map Hogwarts print, and then you've got the Blocketeering contest. I've got some questions. Do you think you'll be involved in the judging of the Blocketerering contest? Which closes today.
Miraphora: Oh, God. It's today? I've been so distracted with this.
Dora: You've got loads of projects!
Miraphora: It's been seven-day weeks for the last whatever. Can't remember. I think we will be contributing to that, yes. Have you submitted yours?
Dora: Oh, I haven't actually submitted anything. I'm more of a graphic designer than 3D artist. And then, without any spoilers, can you tell us anything about the process or how you're getting on with the illustrated edition of The Philosopher's Stone that's coming out next month?
Miraphora: Yeah, well, it's done!
Dora: It's done!
Miraphora: Yeah, the printers would be killing us.
Dora: We're very excited about it.
Miraphora: We are too because that was a really serendipitous journey from having been involved in everything other than the actual books. The films, the theme-parks, marketing, merchandise. You do all these things and then to be invited nearly twenty years later to the actual source material. It's really good; like coming home.
Miraphora: And also a new challenge! Because although we designed a few books before then, that's quite a big commitment and a big ask because you guys are all so familiar with the work.
Dora: Do you think the fact that there are other illustrations already out, do you think that helped you think of something new or was that an obstruction, like, "How can I make something new out of something that everyone already knows."
Miraphora: The biggest one is our relationship with the films. I don't think there are many illustrated editions. I think there's the Jim Kay.
Dora: Yeah, Jim Kay actually tried to steer away from the movies and un-think everything.
Miraphora: Yeah. I don't think there are - I don't know if there are - any other illustrated editions. So in a way we had a bit more space, perhaps. And some of the things are so clearly defined in the writing that you... The Weasley's. What do they look like? So it was always you just steer back to... I mean, I haven't gotten to the Marauder's Map yet.
Dora: That's exciting. [laughs]
Miraphora: We don't see it, do we, until Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm slightly dreading that because it's so embedded in my head as to what it looks like.
Dora: I think everyone has the movie version in their mind.
Miraphora: Do you think?
Dora: I don't remember what I imagined before that, actually. And then finally, Fantastic Beasts is going to start shooting next month, so you're finally back after this long delay in the entertainment industry. Can you tell us anything about that?
Miraphora: [casually] No.
Dora: Oh, okay. Absolutely top secret.
Miraphora: I'm actually not working on it at the moment anyway. Because I'm on this. So I personally haven't been back yet, but we can't unfortunately. We're all contracted.
Dora: That's absolutely fine. You've got loads of projects for us to talk about.
Dora: Did you want to ask anything, Lizzie?
Lizzie: I was wondering about the owls. I absolutely love those. Did you find them just through charity shops, or just through stores?
Miraphora: Yeah. eBay, charity shops.
Lizzie: Oh, eBay! Good ole eBay.
Miraphora: Yeah. And the cage has been left open because obviously that's contentious.
Dora: What's your favorite part of the new space?
Miraphora: Oh, well, I have two favorite things. One is the gallery because I just love that we don't have any daylight so we can really immerse. And when you turn the lights right down, I think I would sleep down there.
Miraphora: Whereas I was always a bit... I had this idea to sleep at Greek Street but it freaked me out a bit. There were ghosts there. We haven't met a ghost yet here.
Dora and Lizzie: Oh really?
Miraphora: But yeah, downstairs I love the fact that it's just completely... well, the goal was for it to be immersive. I think my second favorite thing is the exterior signage. We went to a lot of trouble and worked with a fantastic signwriter to get that absolutely as it would have been. And we found out loads about this building, as well. There's pages of all the different businesses that were in here and its history, so we felt like we needed to bring a bit of that essence as well into things like the signage.
Lizzie: It's absolutely beautiful. It's overwhelmed me slightly because it's so beautiful and you've just captured Harry Potter and the magic of it, as well, and I think that's so important especially with the year we've had, to come in here and be immersed in the world and feel like your love and passion has come out.
Miraphora: It means a lot to hear that; I'm going to start crying. I'm so tired.
Miraphora: No, it means a lot. Because if you guys feel it, that's what we're aiming for, is to have that conversation - that dialogue - with the fans. That we're all speaking the same language.
Lizzie: You can definitely feel how much love you've put into it as well, and that's what I loved about your old shop as well. I think I spent two hours just talking to somebody because everyone was so welcoming and again, it's the same feeling you've brought from Greek Street to here. As a massive Harry Potter fan, it's nice to be in an immersive world that is passionate about it as well. As slightly cheesy as it may sound, thank you for doing that. Thank you.
Miraphora: No, please spread the word. Come here; hang out. There was no coincidence we called it House of MinaLima at the beginning because we wanted it to feel like a home. With all the different senses of home. For you guys to come together, but also for the creativity as well. Having our studio upstairs has been fantastic.
Dora: You call it the flagship headquarters of MinaLima, and I think that's amazing because it's all in one place and it really feels like a new home.
Miraphora: Right now someone's being creative upstairs while I can have this conversation!
Dora: Thank you so much.