House of MinaLima Opens Its New Home
Back to Hogwarts: House of MinaLima has reopened at a new location in London. You would never think 157 Wardour Street was once a little gray office space that has been magically transformed into not only a new gallery for Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima’s stunning graphic designs used in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies but also a true flagship headquarters. We got to visit the gallery’s new home and catch up with the team behind the magic.
While House of MinaLima’s former address was a charming four-story townhouse, the precious props and prints have far more space in the new location, which has two floors: the shop area on the ground floor and a basement gallery. Due to Soho’s protected status, the house is not fully accessible, but so much more of it is than before. No ghosts have been detected yet, but the building can boast of artists among its former inhabitants. Miraphora Mina, one half of the fantastic design duo, told us about the search for a new home:
We were looking for a building where we could have our studio and a shop in one building, but the idea was to keep Greek Street because it was so successful and everyone loved it. Then lockdown happened, and there was no way we could have continued to operate in the restricted spaces. We kind of had that thing where ‘okay, we either just shut everything down or we keep the momentum going and just try our best to reinvent ourselves.’ We thought the best thing was to try and evolve rather than try and re-create inch by inch. My analogy is that Greek Street was the child, and this is the grown-up, the lady.
The new site can host ten visitors, plus the staff, whereas the old address could have only had two. “Strangely, actually, it is the same square footage as Greek Street; it’s just distributed differently,” Mina added, indicating the welcoming ground-floor area piled with magical items. “We had the four floors piled up like that; this feels bigger. It’s similar, but I think it’s been really nice having the gallery as a defined space and the shop area as a defined space.”
“There are so many things that develop organically,” Mina said, emphasizing the importance of having a conversation with the space she works with to overcome challenges. “There are so many things that were in the other shop that we so mixed and muddled up, and now we have space to breathe and you can actually focus on things.” Could this mean the growing collection of owls on display?
“We’ve been collecting them for a while,” Mina admitted, indicating the top of the shelves where they are perched, but only half of them.
We were saying the other day, ‘Oh, no, they’re going to have to go all the way there,’ so we wondered whether we should invite people to bring an owl. Not that I’m asking for presents, but our old and loyal customers, if they’re traveling from abroad or something, maybe they can bring us an owl and it will go up.
You heard it here first: Donate an owl to MinaLima!
On top of the move, the team has been busy with lockdown projects, from postcards to the Blocketeering contest. “It was so nice to sit down and be creative and buy myself a new printer,” Mina said about the Hogwarts at Home print released last month. “It was like, ‘What can we do at home?’ It was before we could even go back to our print studio.”
While we can’t reveal any spoilers, MinaLima’s illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, out next month, was a serendipitous coming home to where the story began. “Home” is the magic word, as Mina adds: “There is no coincidence that we called it House of MinaLima at the beginning, because we wanted it to feel like a home in all the different senses.” The gallery has truly reminded us that Hogwarts is our home.