Founder of Carla Grima Atelier
Carla Grima specialises in the creation of prints, using an experimental practice of watercolours, photography and digital technology. She chooses to work with natural fabrics in the strong belief that there is unique beauty in natural imperfection. Her vision is threefold: exploration, the Mediterranean and the cosmic harmony of shapes.
She graduated in Fashion Innovation and Management from UCA Rochester, and spent a year in Paris, building her knowledge of textiles, fibres and cloth cutting through exposure to French couture techniques. After receiving an invitation to exhibit at London’s Graduate Fashion Week, she went on to work for Marc Jacobs and gained further experience working for London based brand's; Aminaka Wilmont and Junky Styling, as well as collaborations with independent stylists and photographers. She then became a pattern cutter for Jonathan Saunders and a mentor for BA fashion design students at UCA.
Carla set up her own label in 2014 and maintains an international network of suppliers and collaborators. She has chosen to base her studio and her practice in Malta because there is nowhere else like it. An island of enchanting colour and light that serves as her primary inspiration.
Website and E-boutique: Carla Grima Atelier
Instagram: Carla Grima
Facebook: Carla Grima
Founder of One Blue Dot
With both Italian and Maltese heritage and a childhood spent living and travelling across the Far East, Rossella has been a third culture wild child since she first stepped on a plane at age four.
A graduate of University College of London and the London School of Economics, her inquisitive spirit has led her down diverse professional paths that have taken her everywhere from London to Bali and Milan, all whilst picking up languages as varied as French and Mandarin Chinese.
Formerly one of Dame Vivienne Westwood’s legal advisors and co-founder of luxury niche accessory brand Sofia Capri, Rossella is currently based on the Mediterranean isle of Malta. A strong believer in positive, genuine collaboration, Rossella is also a member of the UWC Malta Committee and a world curator for creative platform Ballpitmag.
Website: One Blue Dot
Instagram: One Blue Dot
Architecture & Design
Established in 2014, A Collective is a Malta-based architecture studio founded by Steven Risiott and Patricia Grech. The duo crossed paths in 2012 with a common love for architecture, design and the Mediterranean. The collaboration was a natural consequence. With varying experiences both locally and internationally, Steve and Patty’s approach to design and architecture compliments each other in a seamless manner.
The studio is growing into a collective group of creatives and passionate individuals with a love for design. The architectural team seeks to create spatial experiences moulded by fundamental architectural parameters such as space, proportions, light and materials through the disregard of stylistic materiality. The studio roots itself in contextual design, hoping to enrich the local architecture scene and enhance the quality of life of the end user. The approach is purely architectural, concerned with the infiltration of natural light and its resulting play of shadows, shaping spaces through an eclectic palette inspired by honesty, purity and nature.
Website: A Collective
Instagram: A Collective
Facebook: A Collective
Hangar challenges what a creative agency can do and be. It doesn’t just promote brands — it works collaboratively with clients to improve brands, because the people at Hangar know from experience that the long-haul matters.
Hangar’s vision has always been clear: it is an agency that focuses on quality rather than quantity. It is selective by design, right down to its name. A hangar is a place where engineers and designers meet to attain a high level of precision. It’s a place where big things happen and ambitions are high; where it takes skill and craftsmanship to survive. That is Hangar.
Originally launched in 2012, the agency has grown to embrace an experienced and diverse team of Maltese and international talent that collaborates alongside both niche and global brands such as Lavazza, Onvoy and the Valletta Design Cluster.
Co-Founders of Te fit-Tazza
Illustration & Design
Te fit-Tazza was founded in 2015 by Andrew Farrugia and Craig Macdonald, two bosom buddies with a penchant for design and all things beautiful.
The Maltese islands boast a wealth of identity, evident to the eye in how we act and we interact and, to an extent, how we present ourselves both socially and visually. It would be fair to state that this abundance of distinction may be rooted in a strong sense of tradition, pride and patriotism.
The studio began as a project aimed at showcasing Malta, her culture, her aesthetic and her beautiful landscape through minimalist illustrated prints. In 2018, Te fit-Tazza acquired the souvenir brand, Souvenirs That Don’t Suck, with a store situated in Sliema. The aim is to further widen the spectrum of creative avenues that the studio can explore, whilst still celebrating the Maltese Islands and their beauty.
Founder of Natalie R Vella
Natalie has been tutored at both the Academy of Freelance Makeup – one of the industries’ most recognised fashion and bridal makeup academies in London and New York – as well as at The London Hair Academy for Professional Hair Styling.
What type of beauty does she pursue through her art? The effortless, raw and unrefined kind. Even dramatic looks under her makeup brushes will hold slightly natural and ‘rough around the edges’ qualities. For Natalie, natural can still mean bold and striking as ultimately, it’s all about balance.
In 2012, Natalie relocated to London to launch her career, where she had the opportunity to work with the some of the most talented creatives and brands in the field, including London Fashion Week, NET-A-PORTER Magazine, Estée Lauder, ELLE, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Natalie has recently returned to the sunny isles of Malta, where she is continuing to do what she loves through collaborations with key brands and spreading her grounded, genuine and balanced beauty aesthetic through her Instagram and YouTube channels.
Read Natalie’s interview as part of MCC*’s Creativity Chronicles series headed by collective member Lorinda Mamo here.
Website: Natalie Rose Vella
Instagram: Natalie Rose Vella
Facebook: Natalie Rose Vella
YouTube: Natalie Rose Vella
Founder at Inigo Taylor Photography
Inigo is an English photographer based in Malta who has been working on a long-term social documentary project on Malta since 2007. This continuing body of work looks at contemporary Malta and Maltese identity through colour photographs that have until now been an initial survey into Maltese society. As the project evolves, new approaches are being utilised to take the project further and look closer at the changing social landscape of the country.
Inigo graduated in 2010 from the University of Lincoln with a BA in Photographic Studies. He has photographed in countries around the world, but Malta is still his favourite subject. His main influences are British social documentary photographers including Chris Killip, Martin Parr and Paul Graham, whose unique approaches have helped guide his exploration of Malta. He is currently looking to show his work so far in an exhibition.
Website: Inigo Taylor
Instagram: Inigo Taylor
Faceboook: Inigo Taylor
Ġulja Holland is a local contemporary artist notable for her psychologically-charged paintings. Her work drives through experimental styles that push through conventional aesthetic boundaries and which are themed around self-identification and socio-political issues.
In her recent portraiture series, photography and paint are combined to create what the artist refers to as ‘photo-paintings’. In fusing together a realist and abstract style, the artist seeks to represent the identity as a tangible extension of one’s outward appearance. Here, the influences of Neo-Expressionism and Pop Art are most evident in her work; in her use of colour, gestural style as well as in the repetition of photographic imagery; radically altered in each work in order to convey an ever-shifting stream of consciousness within her subjects.
Following her graduation from Leeds College of Art with Honors, she has recently exhibited at several international shows, including the Paragon Europe Art Exhibition at the Press Club Brussels Europe, the London Free Range show and the International Art festival Chrom-art Exhibition, London. Holland currently lives in Malta where she continues to participate in both local and international exhibitions.
Website: Gulja Holland
Instagram: Gulja Holland
Facebook: Gulja Holland
Founder of Maria Shebets and My Maltese Kitchen
Travel, Photography and Cuisine
Maria Shebets was born in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Saint Petersburg, Russia. After high school, she continued her studies at the Academy of Applied Arts in the field of antiques, after which she began dedicating time working in this very field of expertise.
Although she had always loved cooking, Maria began to realise that it was a deep-rooted passion during her numerous journeys across the world. She enjoyed tasting new ingredients, local dishes and learning how differing cultures influenced various cuisines.
It has been over seven years since Maria and her husband left their country and settled in Malta after traveling for a year in Europe. Maria had two children here whilst she continued her gastronomical journey exploring local culinary products and the Maltese food scene. This inspired her to launch a blog that is dedicated to food and life in Malta, in which she shares her recipes and local restaurant reviews with food-lovers both in Malta and beyond.
Over time, she has become even more interested in ways she could use what home-grown ingredients Malta has to offer for creating dishes she truly loves. Such dishes are not as heavy as the traditional ones but “contemporary Maltese” as Maria loves to call them. Her latest venture – My Maltese Kitchen – is a website and a book-in-the-making which aims to pay tribute to the local produce, explore the local food traditions and create new recipes.
Website: Maria Shebets
Facebook: Maria Shebets
Founder of Gaia and Nina
Francesca Pace began her career in the Tourism Industry after graduating with a B.A. Hons in Geography in 2002. She explored a number of different roles and her creativity, coupled with her entrepreneurial flair, led her to head a very successful team as business development manager in the holiday ownership industry.
In 2012 she married fellow local entrepreneur Sharlon Pace; in 2013 she became a mother for the first time, to Gaia, and is now a mother of two with the arrival of Nina in 2015. She launched the blog Gaia and Nina in December 2015, and has since garnered an international following in the world of children’s fashion with photos from her blog shared by numerous brands across the four corners of the globe. She then launched Flatlay Photography in November 2016, after noticing a lack of professional flatlay photography on the market.
In June 2018, Francesca launched her ethical label of childrenswear, Gaia and Nina, which draws inspiration from the Mediterranean.
Website and e-boutique: Gaia and Nina
Instagram: Gaia and Nina
Facebook: Gaia and Nina
Creative Director at The Garden Studio
After an upbringing in North and East Africa, the Far East, Europe and the US, Eliza returned to her birth country of Malta 4 years ago and set up The Garden Studio in an effort to combine her love of nature and outdoor spaces, and her background in interior architecture.
A graduate in Interior Architectural Design from California State University, Eliza lived 15 years in Los Angeles starting her professional career in corporate interiors and later setting up her studio dedicated to smaller scale projects in residential and commercial design. This is when she discovered her passion for designing outdoor spaces as she delighted in the pleasure and speed (compared to architecture and interiors) it takes to create a beautiful green oasis
The last 7 years in Kenya further cemented her passion for nature and environmental consciousness and upon moving to Malta she saw the opportunity to set up a professional all-round design/build studio dedicated to outdoor and landscape design “the idea was not to merely plant anything green and place some outdoor furniture, but to come up with clever, innovative design solutions, styling and landscape designs to really maximise any outdoor or interior space”.
Since its setup in 2015, The Garden Studio has been steadily growing its team of landscape designers, horticulturalists and builders as well as enlarging the scope of its projects and services to encompass the supply of plants and everything that is needed to create a professionally designed green space, from furniture to pots and everything in-between. Eliza and her team are regular contributors to the gardening section on local media and attend all the prominent landscaping seminars and tradeshows to keep abreast with the latest trends in the field.
Website: The Garden Studio
Instagram: The Garden Studio
Founder of Saint Paul Valletta
Design & Hospitality
Mark holds a distinct eye for design that is at once both rooted in his Maltese heritage and immersed in visual elements influenced by Dutch form. A purveyor of authenticity, Mark’s design vision looks to beautify through the natural and balanced. In this spirit and through Saint Paul, Mark brings to light Valletta’s genuine, lesser-known soul to share with urban explorers from across the continents.
Recognised as a leading figure of the Maltese design scene, Mark’s portfolio of work reflect a grounded spirit of harmony that bridges the contemporary with the authentic.
Website: Saint Paul Valletta
Instagram: Saint Paul Valletta
Founder of RO Art Ceramics
Robbie was born in Venezuela – where she spent her childhood – and moved to Italy at the age of 18. Everywhere she went, she would take her with her her love for nature and for local artisanal crafts, seeking to develop these influences in her work later in life.
As a child, Robbie’s mother would call her Ro, hence how the name Ro Art came to be. Robbie’s passion for art started at a young age, and over the years, she has found it essential to keep her artistic passion alive. Following years working in the corporate sphere, a Ceramics Masterclass in Rome re-ignited her creative spirit, and it was then that everything clicked into place. She decided to leave her career and immerse herself solely in the world of ceramics, falling in love once again with the versatility of the clay and the entire creative process.
Robbie’s inspirations are drawn from nature itself. She is fascinated by the complex and beautiful natural structures and textures found in plants, bark, seed pods, corals and shells. She loves the contrast between the rough texture, clay colour and the glossy shades of blue that speak of sea water on white sand and rocks.
Each of her pieces are hand-built with the technique of coiling or slabs in a range of different kinds of clay. Each coil is melded into the coil below, pinched, squeezed, moulded and scraped into shape. Robbie has exhibited her ceramics at trade events and contemporary ceramic and craft fairs throughout Europe, and since moving to Malta in 2014, the natural beauty of this Mediterranean island has been an additional source of inspiration for her work.
Website: RO Art Ceramics
Instagram: RO Art Ceramics
Facebook: RO Art Ceramics
Co-Founders of JAD Jewellery
Hailing from different work experiences – one as a psychologist and psychotherapist, the other as a stone setter and goldsmith – Gioia and Ivano first met in Città della Pieve, Italy. In the quiet countryside between Umbria and Tuscany, with a common love for jewelelry, design and contemporary art, they opened their first Italian studio in 2011: La Fonderia dell’Oro – a big, bright workshop with fittings made from old pallets, barrel hoops and paper.
In 2015, Gioia and Ivano moved to Malta. Today, these two countries’ art and nature are infinite sources of inspiration. Art and design are their “fuel”, whilst the sense of nature is also part of their jewels through their rough and dull surfaces and irregular edges.
Gioia and Ivano believe art and beauty have to be easy and present in people’s lives; approachable and available for the ones who search for them. Working with their hands – with art, beauty and nature always on their minds – they seek to make their lives better and to try and give back through crafting beautiful jewellery, not common but easy to use, enjoy and wear.
Website: JAD Jewellery
Instagram: JAD Jewellery
Facebook: JAD Jewellery
Founded by Rebecca Barbaro Sant, The Authentic Brief (tAB) is an innovative concept creative partner which offers clients a unique edge through its pragmatic and wholly authentic strategic processes, doing away with the more traditional approach to marketing and PR. A hands-on approach as well as the vital emotional connection with clients, is key to its success.
Effective communication has become quite a cliché, but is still the most valuable link for companies and brands to gain maximum exposure and generate sales. tAB communicates a client’s particular story and gauges the needs of the audience to translate into a resonating response.
Website: The Authentic Brief
Instagram: The Authentic Brief
Facebook: The Authentic Brief
Founder of Zen With Julia
Julia is Malta’s first and only KonMari consultant in training.
A recent arrival from London, where she worked in the education sector, Julia was inspired to make decluttering and organisation her career after successfully completing the KonMari process in her own family home. A long-running love of good interior design and a deep interest in the sustainability of our home and creative spaces complemented this move perfectly.
When starting out in her career as a tidying consultant, Julia was inspired by the positive aesthetic changes that were sparked in her and her clients’ personal spaces. As her practice has developed, she’s found the most wonderful part of her work to be seeing the confidence of her clients increase after even one tidying lesson.
Julia’s tidying lessons involve working first with clients on their vision for the ideal life, home and creative space. After using a welcoming ritual to open the space to being tidied, Julia then coaches her clients to hone their sense of personal style and joy as they work through each item in their space. Identifying creative ways to store and style possessions with her clients means that they quickly find increased mental and physical space to pursue their own creative interests more fully.
Read Julia’s interview as part of MCC*’s Creativity Chronicles series headed by collective member Lorinda Mamo here.
Website: Zen With Julia
Instagram: Zen With Julia
Facebook: Zen With Julia
Founder of Sergio Muscat and L’Orrse
Art, Photography and Fashion
Sergio Muscat’s art is one that looks closely – that approaches, associates, combines and recombines. As inspiration for his works, he creates an ever growing digital photographic archive of the world he encounters (everyday objects, artworks, architecture, technology, nature). Sergio’s archive bears testimony to the way he appropriates the world: His camera registers a subject, looks at it closely, distorts it, changes viewpoint or swirls around it. That work is then combined into his final artworks, which themselves are re-introduced into the archive as source for future work. He renders the result into both traditional fine art prints and everyday objects such as silk scarves and architectural elements, reminding us that the world is something every individual constructs from exposure, experience, memories and interests, as well as preconceptions, biases and worldviews.
Apart from, and in complement to his art, Sergio has also had an extensive career within the technology industry, which he has partly put aside to explore his own path, by founding L’Orrse, a fashion brand creating silk scarves and accessories, and recently also moving to Gozo to run Tan-Neputi Bed and Breakfast with his life partner Anna.
Facebook: Tan Neputi
Founder of Marquis De Vissac
In 2014, Olivia Levelt arrived on the island of Malta along with her partner, and opened a concept boutique in the capital city Valletta dedicated to selling quality, hand-made espadrilles. Over time, they have expanded their range of accessories to include the products of talented designers from Malta and across the world.
Olivia is a true lover of fashion that is all about quality and comfort.
Website: Marquis De Vissac
Instagram: Marquis De Vissac
Facebook: Marquis De Vissac
Youtube: Marquis De Vissac
Founder of A Bird With A French Fry
Co-Founder of Belle & Beau Handmade
Creative writer, Designer and Maker
Lorinda Mamo was born and brought up in Toronto, Canada. While her formal education was based in the sciences, her heart and passion was always in art and design. She taught herself graphic and web design over the years and in 2010 she took a leap and opened a creative advertising studio (Design Chronicle Studios) with her husband. Two years later she was pregnant with her son and when she found a lack of local mothers sharing their experiences, she started her blog A Bird with a French Fry to share her journey of pregnancy and things for kids. When she found out that there was a problem with her baby, her posts started to dwindle as it was a difficult time and nothing like she expected.
One day she took the plunge to continue sharing her story, despite it not being the ideal situation. The positive and encouraging feedback she received gave her the courage to continue writing. This was even more so when she was diagnosed with cancer when her son was 10 months old. Her writing was her therapy but the lack of creativity was still lacking in her life. While waiting for her son to have his kidney transplant in London she needed to occupy her mind and began designing and creating cute accessories, gifts and home decor for little ones within the brand of her blog. Returning happiness and joy back into the world from an otherwise scary time, helped her cope with the difficult times as well as bring creativity back into her life.
In 2018, she co-founded and launched Belle & Beau with her friend Emma Diacono. This collaboration has allowed Lorinda to design and create their own line of designer bows, bow ties and other fine accessories and apparel for children. Fueled by her design and sewing skills this has continued to fulfil her love of building her own children’s brands.
Lorinda continues to design and create items for both brands, manages and writes for her blog, works on freelance design jobs while taking care of her medically complex son. She is inspired by all things happy and spreads positivity through her designs, creations and written word every day.
Illustration, Printing, and Painting
Emma Fsadni was born in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium and educated in Australia, the Netherlands and Malta where she recently received her B.A. Honours in Fine Arts from the MCAST Institute for Creative Arts, (First Class).
As an adolescent, Fsadni was absorbed in all things materialistic, however, with age came awareness, recognizing the frivolousness that such a lifestyle brings. As a result, her work addresses contemporary ideas and conflicts concentrated around society’s superficiality and constructed realities.
Developed from self-reflective experiences, which are then applied in a social context, she addresses contemporary observations and conflicts surrounding themes such as idealization, habits, and perception. Fsadni translates the complexity of her concepts through means of minimal aesthetics; condensing her ideas visually, while maintaining levels of intricacy in process. Fsadni tends to gravitate towards two-dimensional media, namely illustration, printing, and painting. She finds that such mediums allow a level of sensitivity in execution to be maintained. This element of sensitivity often goes beyond this aesthetic value and extends into her works’ concepts.
Following her studies, Fsadni has already taken part in a selection of collective exhibitions. She is currently working towards materializing an ongoing series of illustrative editioned gilcée prints titled REPOSE.
Read Emma’s interview as part of MCC*’s Creativity Chronicles series headed by collective member Lorinda Mamo here.
Website: Emma Fsadni
Instagram: Emma Fsadni