Meeting Michele | The Product Designer

One would never imagine that a small design firm like StudioMIC could produce such big ideas! We met Michele Grech-Cumbo earlier this year at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the epi-centre of creative inspiration. He brought our Vanilla Noir Caesarstone to life with their Robusta coffee table at the 100% Design SA this year and continues to WOW us with his innovative products and pure passion for exceptional design. We stole a few moments to get to know him a bit better…


What defines the StudioMIC design?
A mid-century inspired feel, coupled with a scandi-japanese aesthetic. Less is more in our eye and therefore we don’t believe that design should be over complicated. Anything unnecessary that is added to design becomes décor, which can saturate and complicate design. We also like materials to be the hero of the design, illustrating their unique qualities and using this as the foundation. We use clever engineering in design, while maintaining the aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism, which hides the ingenious methods of our manufacturing.


The StudioMIC client is:
Someone who appreciates clean lines, sophisticated design and functionality, and therefore enjoy a timeless contemporary style. They also need to be open to creative freedom and allow our designs to shine. We like to work closely with clients to create unique and interesting designs for their spaces.


“We are inspired by everything around us, mostly nature – the greatest designer of all – one can’t help but marvel at its complexity in engineering yet simplicity of its execution.”


The rule of thumb when budgeting for new designs or renovations?
Always prioritize quality products for your home, especially those related to furniture and working spaces. High quality, well designed, and most importantly, timeless furniture that will last for years. It becomes an investment in your home, rather than an object to throw away. This is true for a great kitchen, a welcoming lounge or any space you use all the time. Choose elements that will offer less frustration, more joy and a better experience. Quality and timeless designs are keys to having a beautiful space.


Coolest project to date?

We worked on a revamp of a hotel in Zinkwazi, Durban – nestled in a natural forest on the doorstep of a private beach. We transformed it into a warm, natural space, reminiscent of the nature surrounding it. We used natural woods and textures, coupled with large swathes of seamless Calacatta Nuvo and Frosty Carrina Caesarstone for the reception, bar and breakfast server. We amplified these natural elements with lively indoor plants to bring nature indoors, which allow guests to feel grounded. We designed and manufactured new wooden table tops in the restaurant with Wegner Round and Elbow chairs for a timeless appeal.

In the area? Be sure to VISIT: A Streetbar Named Desire, in Johannesburg. StudioMIC are behind the edgy dining tables and Stratford Stools – full steel & powder coated for their outdoor balcony and a wooden-seat version for their indoor bar – The food is quite something too!

Where do your design genes come from?

Design has always been deeply ingrained in my family. My grandfather, Egon Guenther, on my mothers side was a pioneering gallerist and goldsmith in South Africa. He started the artistic group called the Amadlozi Group of Artists. He was one of the first gallerists who took black South African artists to Europe to exhibit their work and talent, putting them on the international stage during the Apartheid era. The artistic talent filtered through into my mother. She nurtured my interested and curiosity in all things. 
My father and his father were engineers who developed and nurtured an interest of logic, engineering and building, in me from a young age. Growing up, I was always creating – from treehouses to electrical projects.

“A designer is not limited by the tools at his disposal, only by his imagination. Without an imagination, a design has nothing. A designer has the ability to think creatively but practically, dream with wonder but be efficient. We can craft, create, imagine and design. Our limits are bounded by the power of our mind and thus is infinite.”


Top 10 instagrammers to follow:
Where to begin?! @studiomic_design – obviously! To keep up to date with our work and to contact us. 
@Local_za_design – for the best content on local design and inspiration. @dezeen  @Designmilk & @d.signers are all great resources, illustrative and interesting. 
@archdigest – for everything architecture
. @prodeez – industrial design heaven. 
@Archiproducts – products for architecture
. @yankodesign – crazy concepts from around the world, and then of course 

“We love to invent clever objects that are meaningful, considered and lively, allowing the materials used to display their full potential.”


Let’s have some fun… The first house built on the moon will… 
… need to built underground within the moons surface or inside of a crater that provides “walls” to build into, thus not being forced to build down into the ground. It may also provide added shelter from the elements to protect the occupants from the harsh heat of the sun as well as the cold depths of space. There will be an area, which may covered for starting a biosphere for producing agriculture. The dwelling would most likely be on the near-side of the moon towards the North pole, facing the Earth, so that occupants have a great view of Earth, travel to and from the moon base would be closer and any residual heat from Earth is captured by the solar rays both when facing the sun and otherwise.

Apart from being great designers, StudioMIC is focused on honesty, integrity and customer relationships, and will bring your design requirements to life! With an incredible reputation and accolades, including A’Design awards in England and RAPDASA, contact StudioMIC and Michele Grech-Cumbo via the following channels: Email: [email protected] | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Want to get your hands on your very own Caesarstone? Contact us for a quote from a Caesarstone Accredited Fabricator. You can also get inspiration from our social media platforms on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook. If you want to show off your Caesarstone tag us at #CaesarstoneSA – we’d love to see your creations. Read more from our design dialogues and kitchen inspiration

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