Rising Star: Mia Senekal

Rising Star: Mia Senekal is a Young Designer to Watch

WORDS Phendu Kuta PHOTOS Supplied

Inspired by nature and rooted in ergonomics, her brand murrmurr is making waves with its organic shapes and neo deco aesthetic.

Cape Town-based, Stellenbosch-raised former Design Indaba Emerging Creative Mia Senekal founded distinct interior and furniture design brand murrmurr after nine years of experience in retail interior design.

She is one of the local designers who contributed to adidas’s sustainability-centric flagship store in Sandton City, Johannesburg, opened late last year. The couch she designed for the store, New Moon, is inspired by the phases of the moon and reflects her main influence – nature and the outdoors – where she draws from elements in the world around us and brings them inside our homes. Murrmurr also places a strong emphasis on ergonomic design, ensuring alignment with the highest standards of comfort. We spoke to Mia about her design philosophy and more.

Mia Senekal
Mia Senekal

My typical day is filled with enquiries and sending out information on products – which I’m so grateful for. In between that, I visit my manufacturers to check up on the progress and quality of items. When I have free time, I constantly think about (and sketch) new ideas. It’s the part of the business I’m most passionate about, that creative bubble.

What makes a great piece of design, for me, is originality – and that stems from creating based
on a firm concept, having a story behind the design, and it being relatable to customers. Comfort is also key when designing a great piece of furniture.

Functionality comes first. When I first started exploring furniture design in 2019, I set out to understand the ergonomics of furniture – what makes it functional and comfortable. Once I had completed that research, I started to incorporate what I’d learnt into designs that are aesthetically pleasing, and that translate into pieces of art.

READ MORE: The Flourish Range by Murrmurr

Nature inspires all my designs. For me, a strong concept is hugely important in any range – it gives me a base to design from and room to play; a core to draw on whenever I get stuck or need a new idea. It also creates a story between pieces in a range – a story that is told through design.

The top trends in design that I see coming through in the next year or two will be about incorporating sustainable materials, and playing with various textures and finishes in one furniture piece. Texture and materials have become a big focus in the industry – consumers are looking for something different, something to set an item apart from commonly used materials.

I’ll incorporate these trends into my own brand by focusing on sourcing and integrating sustainable materials, and including a lot of texture – it ties in with our ethos of being inspired by nature.

Among all the pieces I’ve designed thus far, my personal favourite is the New Moon couch from the Moon collection. It was the first piece I ever created, and I’m still in love with its endless curves.

READ MORE: Rising Star: Siyanda Magaba

My advice on the quickest or easiest way to update a home’s interiors is paint. You can also try new plants, fresh linen or one signature couch. That way, you can change things up again in a few years when the urge to uplift a space strikes you.

My favourite room in my own home is definitely my bedroom. It’s a haven that I’ve filled with plants, and a mix of antique and modern pieces that exist in perfect balance. The big bed, with its soft white linen and floral scatter cushions, is so inviting!

My favourite destination for design inspiration is definitely Milan. The furniture industry and fairs are incredible. It’s a hub of design, and it’s filled with energy and creativity.

If money were no object, the piece of design or art I’d treat myself to is Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. It has been my favourite piece since the age of 16, when I saw it in real life. I was mesmerised.

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