The term "local is lekker" is a popular one, and one that boutique accessories and design studio, Love Milo, embrace wholeheartedly. 

Not only does their sustainable manufacturing practice include the sourcing of local materials and building a community of local craftsman, but also embraces an ethos and larger vision of raising awareness of the eco-lifestyle. 

The duo behind the brand, Nicki Ellis and Matt Finch, believe that this journey of awareness begins with a true appreciation of the imperfect beauty of one’s environment. Taking daily inspiration from their surroundings, Ellis and Finch translate the gratitude they have for earthy elements into nature-inspired designs, with the hopes of arousing a collective consciousness of nature’s splendour and sacredness.

Design for living

“Beautiful things inspire a person, but instead of putting these things onto walls to admire from a distance, why not make it a part of everything we do.  When we drink our morning coffee, why not incorporate beauty into this? Why not make this a process of interacting with art? What a good way to start the day,” says Ellis, who is the designer behind Love Milo products. 

“You will never find a straight line in nature, so my designs are about finding the harmony between line and form; juxtaposing the imperfect elements with handmade elements to create something unique. In today’s world, many don’t have the time to stop and enjoy nature, so the aim with Love Milo is to find the beauty in the outdoors and bring it to you through our designs in every day accessories.” 

Ellis' process begins with photographing elements of nature that have striking patterns. Sometimes this begins in her own backyard, when her son Milo brings her a variety of interesting creatures he has found in the garden, like dragon flies and butterflies. 

“I look for the smallest detail in the elements, like the wings of the dragonfly or the pattern of a branch that I find while on a walk; and then photograph these in a light box.  Next, I play with the imagery in black and white, as this speaks to the minimalist approach to our designs.”

Although the brands signature style is black and white, Ellis brings in certain spots of colour that are found in nature to enhance a design. Currently, shades of green and indigo, inspired by the Agate stone, can be found across different products, and Ellis is now beginning to play with a pink and gold in a new range of cups and saucers. 

Her hope for those who interact with Love Milo products is to enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by the beauty of nature and to feel energised when interacting with them. “Our designs are quite visually surprising, which I like. When placed against a white wall or clean background for example, the designs definitely catch your eye.”