Daily Mini Interview: Miniature Modern Model Houses by Marion Russek

Marion Russek’s 1:12 Scale Modern Model Houses

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What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

Building room boxes with cardboard when I was 8 or 9 years old…

How did you first get started making miniatures?

Life was busy… and I only picked up minis again about 5 years ago when I saw a half-finished dollhouse kit in a friend’s studio in Tirol. During the drive back to Switzerland I realized what I wanted to do!

What is your favorite type of miniature to make?

My style is contemporary and I want an interior or garden with style, design, function and coziness — all combined without refurbishing my home constantly.

There are no favorites, because each mini I make requires different skills — and sometimes new skills like vacuum forming. This is the exciting part about making minis.

Tell us a bit about the 3D furniture you’ve developed. How has it been working with the Shapeways team?

The mini scene seems to be mainly Victorian and a bit of retro but very little modern. I simply could not find what I wanted, especially chairs… And then who wants to do 6 of the same thing? It would be boring, so 3D was the solution. I did not want to spend even more time on the computer and got myself designers to help me.

I print with Shapeways because a home printer can never produce the quality and details they can with their high-end technology. Granted, it is not cheap, but it is worth it. The collection grew and I decided to offer these models to other modern mini enthusiasts as well by opening my shop on Shapeways. The mark-up on the items is very moderate and it certainly is not a business. But then, this was not the idea behind it…

What do you do professionally when you’re not making miniatures?

…because I earn my living by headhunting specialists for employers. I have had my own business for about 20 years with fantastic customers — some of them became very close friends. I simply love what I am doing!

Favorite miniature you own?

Dorota from Minifanaberia is my benchmark. Her work is exquisite!! But there are many others like Pipi Turner, Nunu’s House, etc. For more, check out my Pinterest boards!

How do you get ideas for your dollhouse scenes?

The scenes are from real life, as we live today. I am not a decorator who changes scenes regularly — even in my own home. But I see architecture I like! And that is what gets my imagination going. I design a house with my software, including very detailed electrical drawings, and then I build it! The house can be in any style (maybe even one day a Victorian one!) but the inside must be contemporary.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

I love Kari Bloom‘s colorful creations!

Why miniatures? 

Finding solutions to problems is what excites me. ‘Won’t work’ is a no-go for me! There is always a way to make things work. For instance: I could not place the laundry area in the house I am working on right now. It took me about 2 weeks to figure out how I could enlarge the kitchen without changing the facade or floor plan. If I cannot find the solution instantly, I allow myself time so that ideas can develop.

What’s to come from Marion Russek?

I am working on a minimalistic wood house; some great architects all over the world are focusing on this kind of building style. It takes a special kind of personality to live in a house like this because you are extremely limited with decorating. Just hanging a painting needs careful planning so that the minimalist and wood concepts still work. It is totally exciting!

Other hobbies you enjoy?

I was probably standing right in front of the line when energy was distributed. I am always up to something: writing articles for our professional association, improving the watering system in my garden, going to open-air concerts and theater, swimming in our lake, skiing (but only in perfect weather conditions), coaching immigrants, going to mini shows (now this is an excellent reason for traveling), playing online games for years… the list is endless.

But when I am working on a model, I can literally spend an entire weekend in the studio! I love rainy weekends.

Marion Russek is based in Steinhausen/Zug, Switzerland. To shop her 1:12 scale modern model houses on Shapeways, head here. See more of her miniature creations on the Marion Swiss blog and make sure to follow along: InstagramPinterestYouTube, and Facebook.