Thursday 7th Dec 2017
Pottermore talks to Miraphora Mina, one-half of design studio MinaLima, about her work on these new, previously unreleased prints which feature some of the films’ most iconic props.
You are, of course, familiar with the Time-Turner, the Triwizard Cup and the Goblet of Fire, as seen in the Harry Potter films. Now you have a chance to own limited-edition prints of their early designs – and other iconic props, too – because they’ve been released by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, otherwise known as MinaLima.
With the new collection on display at the House of MinaLima in London, we had a chat with Miraphora about how these now incredibly familiar magical objects came to be. As it turns out, the design process for most of them was pretty smooth…
‘Sometimes you just nail it straight away,’ she recalls. ‘I don’t remember revising the Time-Turner or the Regulus Black fake locket at all.’ Some were trickier, however...
‘The diadem went through loads of changes and I don’t know why! Although I was given a lot of creative freedom to begin with, the concepts need to be approved by the designer, the director and the producers – so most of the time that seems like a happy flow of approvals, but sometimes someone doesn’t like it.’
Probably the most famous item in this collection of prints is the Time-Turner, which not only looks pretty but also swivels and spins in a very complicated way. We’re always pretty awed by it, if we’re honest – it’s seriously cool.
‘All of us designers are aided by our predecessors in design and geometry and engineers; we knew it was scientific, unlike the more jewellery pieces,’ reveals Miraphora, modestly. ‘I looked at orreries and astronomical instruments, astrolabes. We were trying to bring the feeling of a scientific instrument but into something that was wearable and a bit more magical than some of the other pieces that we had to design. I felt like it needed to be something that I would want to wear – and I do actually wear mine! We get really attached to some of the things we design, because of their personality rather than what they look like. It was a privilege, to be given something like that.’
Other items in the prints include Umbridge’s nasty quill, Horace Slughorn’s hourglass, the Triwizard Cup (which has moss embedded in the crystal, to make it feel organic), Xenophilius Lovegood’s Deathly Hallows locket and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. There’s also The Monster Book of Monsters, which was animated by the creatures team in Prisoner of Azkaban. ‘My first design was very much about what it did, rather than what it looked like, so it was very much a book that became extremely angry and sort of destroyed itself,’ says Miraphora. ‘It was a furry, aged thing that looked like it had been a little bit abused, perhaps even by itself!’
And of course there’s the Goblet of Fire – which was given extra weight because it featured in the title of the movie. We can’t help but wonder if that added extra pressure when it came to designing it…
‘I guess we try not to think of it like that – it’s always daunting to have the white piece of paper; you know, where to go with it,’ Miraphora says. ‘I remember I drew it and we did a photocopy mock-up and mounted it on card in the art department, just to check the size, and it seemed enormous! We said, “That’s ridiculous, you can’t do a cup that’s that big!” I think it was 6ft or something. But then we took the photocopy down to the Great Hall set and it was just this tiny speck…’
MinaLima are currently working on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (‘All I can tell you is that it looks beautiful!’ Miraphora teases). How does she look back on her Harry Potter days? ‘You turn up and do the job, and then it’s not until a few years later you look back and go, “Gosh, we did that – that’s quite cool!” And also you start to go to fan events and you start to see what’s important to people. I remember going to the (Celebration of Harry Potter Potter at Universal Orlando Resort), it was probably two years ago, and I saw someone with the Ravenclaw diadem tattooed full-size across their chest. I was so stunned. I thought, “Gosh, these things really are important to people…”’
You can purchase the prints from minalima.com or from the House of MinaLima, 26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE. Premium prints, which are signed and feature hand-applied gold foil, cost £99 and are limited to a run of 250. Standard prints (minus gold foil and autographs) are in a run of 1,000 and cost £39.