Watch any Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts film and you will see sparks of MinaLima’s creativity everywhere, for this is the design studio that has been bringing those magic details of the Wizarding World to life for so many years.
In 2016, the team opened a pop-up shop/gallery in Soho, London, to the joy of many fans who enjoyed the artistry of the films and wanted to see it all in the flesh – from newspaper prints to Hogwarts textbooks to family trees to the Marauder’s Map.
A three month pop-up shop, recreating their work in a more immersive space, quickly turned into a permanent residency in Soho, with visitors coming in from all over the world to see their work.
Three years, on, we asked Eduardo and Mira to name three of their favourite pieces of work, or just happy memories, from life in the House of MinaLima.
‘It has to be just opening the House, it became so immersive!’ they replied when it came to their first favourite memory.
‘It was like letting the genie out of a bottle for us. It was a bit of a whimsical idea and then suddenly it grew legs and then once it was out, we were like, “Oh my god’. This is a bigger thing than we realised, it’s not just putting some pictures on a wall. That was really exciting. Once we started building the thing, it became so immersive.’ Then we found a petition that some fans had written in our visitors’ book asking us to stay so we thought, “OK, shall we stay?”’
After working on the Harry Potter films, the next stop was the Fantastic Beasts films, with the team having worked on the artwork and concepts for props, settings and companion books.
For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the House of MinaLima was transformed into a Parisian style to reflect the setting of the second film, adorning the walls with new 20s-style posters and faux magical advertisements that were used in the film.
The devil truly is in the detail when it comes to MinaLima’s work – with blink and you’ll miss it artwork dotted throughout every Wizarding World film. The team also created the covers for J.K. Rowling’s two screenplays, which feature mysterious embellishments hinting at the story to come. ‘Having fled our new little home and gone off to Leavesden for a year, it was great to be able to bring the Fantastic Beasts stuff back to our environment and constantly re-think it in our very own Room of Requirement - our House of Requirement! So in 2017, we had a rethink on how we could express a Parisian environment and keep things buoyant so visitors can always feel there’s something new.’
It seems that the little shop in Soho is just the beginning of House of Minalima’s journey, when the design team were approached to open a similar shop in Japan.
‘We obviously thought that doing anything in Japan, even going there on holiday, was completely out of reach - an anathema,’ they said. ‘And yet, somehow, we’ve been invited to do a year-long pop up which is called House of MinaLima in Osaka. It’s been interesting masterminding [the project] from here from my phone! So, it’s been brilliant, the fans have been so amazing and that’s kind of unbelievable that something that started as a nub of an idea just turned into reaching people on the complete other side of the earth who are just as passionate. It means House of MinaLima can be shared.’
With three years in the bag, and a trip to Japan on the way, the House of MinaLima are already planning their next big steps – including a new pop-up in Germany and a new collection of premium prints called Magical Moments (‘I think because it’s been 20 years [of Harry Potter] it’s the nostalgia element of those moments from the films that people remember where they were when they saw it’) – and future projects to come.
Until then, MinaLima’s team of designers, cartographers, copywriters and more are all learning new things from each other all the time.
‘We try and find opportunities for our team to use their other skills and still be part of MinaLima – so it’s just created this lovely creative hub,’ the pair told us. ‘We feel very maternal with the heightened activity going on!’
Here’s to the next three years!
To learn more about the House of Minalima, check their official website.