Inspired by architecture and the natural beauty of Ghana, architect Leonie Badger's lifestyle brand Studio Badge offers clean, minimal dinnerware with a subtle nod to classic beauty. The Ghana-based studio produces hand-made products from locally sourced signature materials including wood and concrete. The designs elevate simple forms and accentuate natural textures.
Collections range from muted neutrals to bright, springy color palettes. Badger is a master at balancing proportions, textures, and colors in her designs and if there were smells involved, she would find the perfect balance with them as well.
“[Each piece] strikes a balance between a well-made and high-quality product and a product that has its own individual traits,” says Badger.
Below, Badger speaks with the Folklore about what inspired her move back to Ghana from the U.S., her design process, and her hopes for the future.
Your father was a civil engineer and your mother was an artist, how has growing up with creative parents influenced your work?
I grew up with both art and science influences and that really shaped how I view life and what I wanted out of my career. I started off undergrad as a civil engineering major but switched to architecture because I realized that life will always be a challenge and I might as well challenge myself with something that I’m extremely passionate about. I thought that architecture would be the perfect balance of interests for me and that it would help me express myself most fully.
While you were living in the U.S and studying at MIT, did you ever envision yourself moving back to Ghana?
I actually always envisioned myself living in Ghana and so the move back felt very natural. However, I did not plan to move back and start a business. At the time, I had decided to take some time away from my masters of architecture program to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I moved back to work with my dad in construction.
Many of your designs are functional kitchen and dining items, although you do commission work creating designs outside of that, do you plan on making other designs available for your online customers?
Yes, I have big dreams of expanding the product line! I want to be a lifestyle brand and I want to cover as many aspects of life as possible from working (so a range of desktop accessories) to more kitchen accessories like aprons, robes and fragrances. I’m always seeking ways to bring a little bit of magic to daily life through beautiful products.
What does "going back to the basics" mean to you?
When I say I'm "going back to the basics", I’m articulating the idea of going back to authentic, handmade products crafted from natural and locally sourced materials. It channels a desire to go back to the beauty of pure craft and materiality.
Why is working with traditional Ghanaian artisans important to you?
It is critical to the identity of Studio Badge because we are all about showcasing the talents of Ghanaian artisans and developing that talent in our own little way. Studio Badge would be a completely different business if we were not working with Ghanaian artisans. It’s a matter of national pride and it’s something that I’m very passionate about - something that has really been a driving force in my life for as long as I can remember.
How does your love for architecture, art, and design appear in your personal life?
In every single way! From my love for fashion, beauty, home decor, cooking, and presentation. I think these are all manifestations of my love for art in my daily life. I truly believe that being in a beautiful space and presenting yourself beautifully adds so much value to your life.
Do you have any plans to try your hand at fashion design?
Oh, I have lots of dreams! We’ve actually designed a capsule robe collection that was a very limited edition. I’m always thinking about what that foray into fashion could look like.
Is there anything else our readers should know about Studio Badge and the new product line?
If you’re intrigued, go ahead and place an order. You will not be disappointed! These are made with love and are made simply to delight you. We promise that we will deliver on that.
Written by: Gelina Dames