A Perfect Night for the Studio Mignone Founders Is Some Good Ragu and Tony Bennett
How they bring la dolce vita vibes down under.
Published Dec 28, 2021 6:00 AM
Small rituals make home a place for rest and rejuvenation. In The Wind Down: Day to Night, presented by Lincoln, we explore the wellness routines of people we admire. Because it’s the little moments throughout the day that make us feel our best—and stress-free.
Partners in life and work, Isabella Wood-Mignone and Aldo Mignone are the duo behind Studio Mignone, an Australia-based design firm that specializes in sculptural furniture, objects, and art. Together the couple creates limited-edition pieces using materials like terrazzo, marble, and concrete, including the iconic Tavolo Morbido table you’ve definitely seen on Instagram.
Since days in the workshop can be long and stressful, off-hours are for spending quality time with their daughter, Valentina (lovingly called Vally), playing lots of music on their record player (or through Aldo’s favorite Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX headphones), and cooking up a hearty meal. “Wellness is all about good food, good people, and taking the time (if you can afford it) to do something nice for yourself,” says Aldo. Here’s how they put that into practice.
But first, coffee: I am a coffee-first-thing-in-the-morning person. It is probably the strongest sense of ritual for me in my life. I will never skip it because it’s easy, instant gratification, and since I generally never wake up feeling “ready to face the day,” it’s the perfect morning vice. For me, coffee is a double shot topped up with soy milk, then microwaved for 30 seconds because I’m too lazy to do steamed milk most mornings. —Isabella
I take my coffee black, no sugar. We buy beans from the supermarket and have a grinder next to our little manual DeLonghi espresso machine. Sometimes I’ll do the American drip coffee on this cool pink Moccamaster coffee machine Isabella bought. Then we’ve got a whole pot to last all morning. —Aldo
Press play: We often play classical music vinyl on our old record player in the mornings to set a good tone for the day. It is calming and also something fun that isn’t digital—and not a screen—for Valentina. —Isabella
We recently fixed an old record player we got at an auction. I love giving my collection of records a spin once Vally goes to bed. There’s Vangelis, Roy Ayers, Dionne Warwick, James Brown, Weather Report, Donald Byrd, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Gladys Knight and the Pips. Oh, and we recently ordered a pink vinyl of Khruangbin’s Mordechai—I’m very excited for its arrival. —Aldo
Quick release: Lucky for us, we work next door to our studio, so we have the pure luxury of using any time that would be spent commuting to get extra sleep, do some work, or finish household chores before the day hits. To de-stress and stay calm in the middle of the workday, I’ll step outside for a minute, sit in a chair, tilt my face up toward the sun—I might even undo the top button of my shirt to let a little sun on my face and neck—and just breathe. —Isabella
I prefer any kind of physical or mental release: I’ll go for a run or even a walk around the block, and do a meditation or some push-ups —Aldo
Shades of green: We love our plants. I want to spend every dollar I have on nice plants in pots, both indoors and outdoors. Our place isn’t huge, but we like to put a plant here and there where we can, provided the light is there. There are a lot of pretty gardens around our neighborhood, and we live across the road from a good plant nursery, so I like to think that plant life has some sort of calming effect. Engaging in gardening is really lovely—it’s spring here now, so we’ve just planted basil and chilies. —Aldo
Rituals of love: Nighttime is time spent together as a family with our daughter. We leave work at the studio and focus on the joys of life, which are cooking dinner, talking to one another, eating together, and relaxing. A little ritual I have with my daughter is after her bath and pajamas are on, but before we read stories, we will have our little chats, when we talk about our day or anything on our minds. I think wellness is about having the ability to find pleasure and fulfillment in the moments life presents you. —Isabella
One of the things I love doing to unwind is cooking. Italian crooners in the background (think: Tony Bennett on the speaker) and good old-fashioned pasta. I love tagliatelle ragu with a bottle of our homemade pasta sauce, slow-cooked beef, bay leaves from mum’s garden, and maybe a glass of wine with my wife. Some cheese, olives, or crusty bread? Forget about it. Now I’m hungry. I love the sound of the stove, onions frying, sauce bubbling (but not too much that it will burn). Eating the food is really only half of it for me. —Aldo
Take the plunge: I love an evening bath, especially in cold weather or when I’m feeling run-down and need a recharge. Pair that with a prebath, full-body dry brushing, which is great for lymphatic drainage, and it’s the best combo. Sometimes I like to throw in a 1-kilogram bag of Epsom salts—the magnesium is good for tired muscles. Apart from that, baths are not a fancy affair for me. I don’t use any oils, candles, or anything like that. —Isabella
Sleep on it: I love the feeling of going to bed freshly bathed, with warm skin and body, and getting into my favorite silk pajamas. They are made locally by the wonderful Öösel and are pure heaven! We invested in a new mattress last year, and oh boy, was it worth it; we chose an ultra-plush king bed made by AH Beard. I also invested in high-quality cotton sheets, but I have a silk pillow slip also made by Oosel on my side of the bed. You know, to keep my face and hair crease-free. —Isabella
Our new mattress is so incredibly plush. We realized how important it is to get a good night’s sleep after becoming parents and not really sleeping properly for a year (maybe longer—not totally sure). One pillow with a little bit of a thin sheet loosely covering me is how I like to sleep; I get quite warm at night. —Aldo