Elysian Exchange: Melanie Abrantes of MA Designs

Written by Jessica Comingore Video by Justin Donais

Last fall we paid a visit to Melanie Abrantes in her Oakland studio, nestled along the train tracks in the historic Jack London Square, an area synonymous with artists and creativity. Melanie’s studio is an extension of herself and her work — warm, inviting, and abundant with personality. We spent the day exploring her space, hearing her story, and watching her process from start to finish on a few staple pieces in her eponymous product line, MA Designs.

Melanie is a woodworker and designer who brings to life a collection of beautifully refined homewares, using a clever combination of cork and wood. With simplicity leading her design process, Melanie’s pieces have a way of transcending trends, finding themselves at home in most any style interior. Perhaps most inspiring, however, is Melanie’s approach to design, rooted in the idea that in order to make something beautiful, you have to get your hands dirty. She’s no stranger to a lathe and navigates it with a certain finesse that speaks to her love of the material and a steadfast dedication to quality. Only three years in to her business, I have a feeling we’ve only seen a glimpse of what’s to come from her.

You can find more of Melanie by visiting her website, or over on Instagram.

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