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Peeking into Danya Li's Small, Small Dream World

We sat down with architectural designer, Danya Li, the artist behind our super special (and super small) holiday campaign. 

Nov 23, 2020

We sat down with architectural designer, Danya Li, the artist behind our super special (and super small) holiday campaign. 

Brooklinen: How did you get involved with making miniatures and what do you love most about it?
Danya Li: I started making scale models in architecture school and actually made eight diorama models, varying in scale, for my undergraduate thesis. Coming Soon New York had posted that they were looking for a model maker, and with my background in architecture, I applied and landed my first miniature project. The shop's owners, Fabiana and Helena, were so kind and I’m forever grateful for that opportunity that led me to the world of miniatures. 

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Being a part of the architecture discipline, it’s hard to see projects that you’ve worked on built or even break ground. The architecture world has a very drawn out timeline, and I’ve always been a designer who enjoys seeing my projects built, whether that be in scale models or real scale.

Miniatures have a quick turnaround, comparatively speaking, and also bring so much joy to my clients and their followers. I really enjoy learning while making - meaning, I wasn’t exactly sure how to pot miniature plants or build a miniature radiator, but I figured it out and enjoyed the process. 

What went into making the holiday vignettes?
Working directly with the Brooklinen creative team, I was able to understand their vision for Dreamland and start digitally modeling some sketches of the rooms. The smallest featured item (in this case, the signature Brooklinen candle) determined the scale - since we wanted to make sure that the linens and gifts were legible, I settled on 1:6. I drew inspiration from typical New York City apartments and crossed that with Brooklinen’s Brooklyn loft style.

Once the digital models were complete, I was able to tackle what would be sourced vs. what I could make. Given that the project had a 12 day build period, we sourced a few items such as the arm chairs and golden doodle. The diorama framework was assembled, the Brooklinen sheets and products were sewn, and the remaining furniture and decor were both 3D printed and handmade. 

How long did the process take and what was the most fun/challenging part?
I had three weeks to plan and build this project - only 10 days to build and deliver for the deadline.

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There were a few things that I had to think long and hard about how to execute since the scale was bigger than what I’ve worked on in the past. I initially thought the candles would be hard because I searched for small glass jars for so long, but the bathtubs proved to be the most challenging since they were so large. There was such variety in sizes since I was working with something as small as a pair of scissors, to something as large as a bed frame.

The best part is the last few days when everything comes together and the room that the team envisioned is together in real life. 

What do you hope people take away when they see/experience the holiday scenes this year? 
I hope that people get a sense of curiosity when they realize these sets are miniature. I also hope it reminds them of miniatures from their childhood and maybe start to look into purchasing them or digging up their old toys.

Play and nostalgia are a huge part of why I design miniatures and I think everyone could use some play time no matter what age. 


Written by Langston Dillard

Langston is the Social Media & Editorial Associate at Brooklinen. With a background in public relations, he’s spent several years building communication strategies with direct-to-consumer startups. In his free time, he likes dancing, making vibey playlists, and collecting lip balms. Follow him on IG @langstondillard.

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