A Cool Nigerian Artist & Designer Tells Us What Inspires Her
A Cool Nigerian Artist & Designer Tells Us What Inspires Her

A Cool Nigerian Artist & Designer Tells Us What Inspires Her

In this series, we ask creatives and tastemakers in the interiors industry what’s inspired them over the years – from travel to food, films to books and even people. First up is Mimi Shodeinde. The founder of Miminat Designs is a British Nigerian artist and designer who was born and raised in London, and now works on projects all over the world…
By Georgina Blaskey
Photography: ARMAND DA SILVA

My aesthetic is a mix of references and influences. It’s all about relaxed elegance – or what I suppose my clients often call ‘laidback luxe’. My design process is definitely more fluid than fixed, and it could be seen as quite contradictory at times – it’s brutalist in some sense, but also soft and feminine in other ways. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of my tastes – which are ever evolving. I’m very receptive to new ideas, influences and inspirations, and I think there’s so much magic in that.

Art and painting is my first love. There’s been a paintbrush in my hand for as long as I can remember. My favourite medium is oil paint – it was the way I learnt to paint in school. There are so many artists I love: Caravaggio, Henri Matisse, Cy Twombly, Käthe Kollwitz and Toyin Ojih Odutola are names that instantly spring to mind. I also enjoy spending time at the Tate, the Saatchi Gallery, the White Cube and the Hayward Gallery in London; the Guggenheim and MOMA in New York; the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris; and Zeitz Mocaa in Cape Town.

My DESIGN PROCESS is a reflection of my tastes – which are EVER EVOLVING. I’m very receptive to new ideas and I think there’s SO MUCH MAGIC in that

The most inspirational person in my life is my mother. I’m lucky to have an extremely close and special relationship with her. In a design context, Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi are two heroes of mine. The clean lines of the period in which they worked really reflect my own style today – I’m not one for frills or patterns!

I always knew I’d end up in a creative field. When I switched to interior design – having initially pursued architecture as a discipline – I instantly knew it was for me. I see interior design as an extension of art, so in many ways my first love has translated into my career today. I fall asleep and wake up thinking about design – it's just a part of who I am.

I FALL ASLEEP AND WAKE UP thinking about design – it's just a PART OF WHO I AM

Greece is one of my favourite countries to visit. It’s so full of inspiration. Kefalonia is one of my favourite islands and my hotel of choice would have to be Wilderness Whisperings. I spent a lot of time in Beirut in my late teens and early 20s, and it’s a city I still love very much. If you’re visiting, I’d recommend exploring Byblos, the old Beirut Souks, Jeita Grotto, Zaitunay Bay for amazing food, and the Zaarour mountains during the ski season. 

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in Miami. I like to stay at Hotel Gabriel Miami South Beach –  I’m obsessed with the movie Scarface, so staying on Ocean Drive is like living out a fantasy. Finally, I have to mention Venice – if you go, stay at the AMAN Venice. I don’t think you can ever have a bad culinary experience in Italy. The pasta, the wine – is there a dreamier way to spend an evening?

Spending time in jazz bars and GOING TO CONCERTS will always be one of my most enjoyable pastimes. Music really ELEVATES MY MOOD before I start the day.

Films based on true events are among some of my favourites. I recently watched Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s an action-thriller based on true events, and it was pretty intense and emotional – but it also gave me a real understanding of the unethical trade of child soldiers, resulting in me watching a lot of historic footage from the civil war in Sierra Leone.

My music taste is really varied. Spending time in jazz bars and going to concerts will always be one of my most enjoyable pastimes. Music really elevates my mood before I start the day.

Cooking is another way I like to be creative. My dish of choice in the winter months is my chicken and mushroom one-pot pie – it’s the perfect way to bring the family together and great for hosting casual nights at home. It goes beautifully with a bottle of red wine. If I’m going out, I love Dinings SW3 – it serves the most delicious sushi, and the service is impeccable.

Some creative people I really admire include Vincezo De Cotiis for his instinctive aesthetic, Ronan McKenzie for her striking portraits, Sabine Marcelis for her material innovation, John Pawson for his elevated minimalism and the designer Roksanda

Visit Miminat.com 

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