There are a few ways to remember a holiday – a cheesy fridge magnet, a snow dome featuring a city where it never snows, or the unexpected theme park rollercoaster money shot. Now there is McKean Studio, based in Sydney, and operated by husband and wife team Joshua and Megan McKean. After coming home from their round-the-world honeymoon in 2012 Megan says the pair had ‘itchy feet’, and were inspired to start a travel themed passion project. Bringing together their backgrounds in Industrial Design and Visual Communication, so far this duo has created a range of silk scarves, art print, jewellery and our favourite – handpainted miniature building blocks inspired by cities they have visited.
‘All of the products that we have worked on at this point are travel and city related. We only work on cities that we’ve experienced together, which is a really great excuse to keep visiting new cities!’ explains Megan. The McKeans incorporate what they describe as hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ into their designs to keep things interesting and exciting. Megan says ‘these are city-specific quirks that will probably be familiar to those who have visited the city before, such as the Randy’s Donuts building in LA, or a giant rat running free across a NYC Brownstone stoop.’
McKean Studio have created Mini Cities for Palm Springs, New York City, and more recently, their hometown of Sydney! Together, the pair design each piece of their selected city, from a Palm Springs Mid Century home to a New York cab or Sydney’s Opera House. The blocks are then laser cut in Sydney, and individually hand painted by Megan and Joshua. ‘It’s a labour of love, we even paint the pins on the cacti!’ Megan says.
‘We both loved Lego when we were kids, and these cities are like the grown up version, intended to keep you holiday dreaming’ says Megan. Already this year the McKeans were invited to show their Mini Cities in Palm Springs for Modernism Week. The pair are also hoping to travel to Europe at the end of the year, a trip which will no doubt inspire more Mini City creations, promising plenty of croissants, red windmills and inevitably the iconic Eiffel Tower.
Mini Cities are available to purchase online from McKean Studio here.