Mizzi Studio: A Design Agency Turning Fantasy into Reality

By Paul Joseph

The modus operandi of any design agency is to translate - and if possible exceed - the visions of its clients. Mizzi Studio attempt to go one step further by creating remarkable, innovative structures that can often appear to transcend the realms of possibility.

In recent years the London-based company has become increasingly influenced by the world of naval architecture, applying many of the techniques and visual hallmarks of this time-honoured discipline into its own projects.

We sat down with Mizzi’s founder Jonathan Mizzi, an alumni of renowned studios such as Foster and Partners, Jason Bruges Studio and Cinimod Studio, to find out more about the company’s recent forays into the realm of naval engineering and the unique challenges involved.

Can you start by telling us a little about your company?
We are a multidisciplinary design studio that works across all sectors and at every scale. So,everything from full scale, architectural building and  master plans of large-scale schools down to the seat on a public bus and cookery ware.  Our work spans architecture interior, industrial and identity.

What would you say is your overarching mission?
Our mission is to make the physical world a better place to live in and we aim to work on projects that have significant social impact. Our design philosophy is rooted in Biomorphism – meaning we draw our primary inspiration from nature and as a result the majority of our creations are free flowing organic formed structures.

What can you tell us about some of your recent projects?
At the beginning of this year, Colicci Café at Westfield in London opened. The brief was for a real landmark that served as a welcoming jewel to Westfield in one of its main public squares. Our Client Colicci cater for The Royal Parks and share a love common love for nature and organic forms.  So much so their logo’s identity we created for them takes the form of a leaf.  The café evolves their symbol in to a 3-Dimensional abstract copper leaf seemingly floating in the wind. 

To achieve that we looked at naval-boat construction and actually used ship builders to create the cafe. The roof’s structure was made completely out of fiberglass in the same manner that you make a hull of a boat. It's essentially a hull of a boat flipped upside down! We then evolved the traditional copper-sheathing technique, which is cladding a hull out of copper (such as the Cutty Sark) in to the digital age by laser cutting  542 bespoke pieces of copper in a pattern that further articulates its form.

The end result is a beautiful wow-factor piece, which has this mouth that opens like a copper cave. The whole idea is that it mimics the way a mouth of an orchid works luring customers inside much like bee’s to pollenate a flower. The humans are the bees and the menu’s food offering is the pollen!

Is this naval architecture theme evident in any of your other projects?
Yes, there’s a Ship's Hull Sculpture that we designed for the headquarters of a big shipping company.

They wanted a wow factor reception area that clearly represented their identity. Our concept was to  have one of their ships crash in to their reception!  We did this by morphing the entrance corridor’s reception walls in to a quite literal translation of the front of one of their ship. I think we answered their brief well, it’s an immersive powerful piece of engaging sculpture that enhances the visitor experience for both employee and client

The other one we're launching is a floating art installation called “Light Wave”. At the simplest level it's a floating discotheque, but it's a lot more than that. It's a fully interactive floating piece of art that celebrates the beauty of our sea’s kinetic motion.  

The art piece’s goal was to translate the movement of water in to light and to articulate the beauty of the motion of the sea and its’ swell waves.  In order to realise this vision we worked with creative technology consultants Hirsh&Mann to develop a smart system of sensory technology that can accurately map the speed of our floating jetty’s surface movement and convert that data it in to light.

As any kinetic motion is recorded, it means it’s also a fun, engaging and interactive installation for humans to walk on or dance on creating your own digital footprint of you walking on water

It’s an in-house project, there was no commission, but we’re hoping to make a big event of it and pitch it as a fantastic soup-me-up toy. 

By Paul Joseph