In late December, on the penultimate day of the year and on a last minute whim I decided to take the family on a day trip to London. I wanted to get out the house, get some fresh air and do something exciting! So we jumped on a train and headed south down the tracks to foggy, dark and cold London town. We alighted on the South Bank side of the Thames at Blackfriars train station and followed the walkway west, past the London Eye and on to Westminster Bridge. With the low light and fog this part of the city became mysterious and eerie, almost as if we were on a film set of a new Sherlock Holmes movie.
I had read somewhere in a magazine article about a temporary store being set up by a company called MinaLima near central London. MinaLima is the creative combination of Miraphora (Mina) and Eduardo (Lima) who first met on the set of Harry Potter back in 2001 as two graphic designers responsible for designing the graphic props for all the Harry Potter films. I knew we were heading in that direction and my young son had, for the first time watched three Harry Potter films over the festive period would perhaps be interested in paying a visit.
I was definitely up for a visit after seeing their work for the first time a few years back at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter experience.
The House of MinaLima was billed as an exhibition and shop of the graphic art of the Harry Potter films, and other works, by MinaLima. The House/shop/store/exhibition kind of space definitely looked like it was straight out the Harry Potter movie set. There were four floors to explore, all full of fantastic visual designs on display.
My creative senses exploded before my right foot had even had time to touch the creaky wooden floor boards entering the ground floor which housed the shop. Full of magical visual delights – posters, stationery, home-wares, books and all very, very tempting indeed.
We thought we would leave the temptation of the shop until last so we headed up the narrow crooked staircase to the first floor to explore The Graphic Art of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Some lovely posters and books from the latest movie were on display. There were lots of people in the shop and a policy on each floor to only allow so many people up and down at a time to avoid overcrowding.
We didn’t have to wait long until we headed up the next flight to explore the remaining floors which housed The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films. There were plenty of film props on display and a large variety of framed posters and prints readily available to buy in the shop on the ground floor. The display, presentation and exhibition was magnificent and well worth the visit.
Of course we stopped to have a look around in the gift shop on the way out. I picked up a signed copy of The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The hard-cover book is a graphic designers dream. It delivers a real interactive tactile experience by sharing film-making secrets, film photography and artwork with behind-the-scenes stories from cast and crew. The book is full of removable paper reproduction props from the movie which makes it even more special. To top it all off, who should be behind the counter as I went to pay for the book, none other than the two designers themselves – Miraphora and Eduardo. I was so excited to manage and grab a chat for a couple of minutes with Miraphora about her experiences and time designing the props on the Harry Potter sets.
I came away with a great experience, a fab signed book and met the two designers responsible for creating some of the most creative iconic movie props ever. All in all, not a bad day for an on the spot decision!