Minimalissimo


When one thinks of incorporating nature into one’s home, that thought often involves trees. However, Amsterdam-based studio Formafantasma by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin has a different direction for that thought. Specializing in designs that fuse tradition and local culture, while regarding sustainability and the objects’ significance, their products incorporate the most unusual materials—such as the Fossilium series. Made from cooled lava rocks from the eruption of Mount Etna in November 2013, these volumetric sculptures are the work of a collaborative effort that involves special processes. While minimal in form, the porosity and grain of these products propose a complexity in material execution. The elegance of simple geometric silhouettes is highlighted with accents of brass against the monochromic base of the basalt colors. These tables and tools are a part of a greater collection that includes clocks, bowls, and mirrors that are available at Gallery Libby Sellers in London.  I find a fascination in the loyalty of Formafantasma to their philosophy of locality. Not only they were able to produce an amazing array of minimal sculptural furnitures, the sustainability aspect of material transportation also speaks about the work ethics that created Fossilium.


Shot by Flemish photographer Frederik Vercruysse, this temple of modernism was built in the 1950s by Andre Wogenscky, a renowned architect who worked with Le Corbusier for a long time. Although it was built about 60 years ago, it seems to belong to a current concept. All the furniture is custom-made in a clever contrast between materials and forms, while remaining in absolute rigour. The modernist spirit plays with the position in the middle of the countryside and the view from the interior give a timeless touch to the house. Located just outside of Paris, House Saint-Forget was designed according to the golden section of Le Corbusier and the measure of a man, known as modular. A staircase leads to an exquisite black and white living and dining room, which is open to the outside, and features a corner fireplace in the original steel roof. Remarkable.


A gorgeous white form is located in a hilly, rural area of Luxembourg. Simply called Luxembourg House, this structure is designed to create dynamic spaces inside and out. The home was designed by the infamous Richard Meier, an architect who has received worldwide recognition for his minimal buildings. Long walls of white tile and full length windows form the exterior structure. This layout anchors the home to its site and creates panoramic views of the environment. On the interior, the layout defines the public and private spaces. A large staircase rests inside a light-filled atrium; this staircase is the main mode of circulation throughout the home. The lower level of the house is mostly utilitarian: it contains parking and a fitness center. The living and dining rooms are nestled along a wall of windows on the ground floor, and the kitchen and playroom sit on the north side of this level. The uppermost story contains the bedrooms and study. Terraces on all floors embrace the light from the large windows and balconies. I love the thoughtful design of Luxembourg House. Every space in this structure was deliberately designed by Richard Meier and his team. The result is a house where every corner is full...


UK-based Industrial Facility introduces the Branca Chair and its younger brother, the Branca Stool. Conceived together with the well-respected Italian Mattiazzi as their client, the brief was to design a chair that turned to nature, where complexity thrives on reason, where beauty is simply a reason for constant growth. Available in black, white, green and a natural ash, both pieces are a collaboration on dedication to craftsmanship. The stool features a low back, a subtle element, together with a metal footrest for durability. Industrial Facility is a firm that works with international companies of all sizes in a wide ranging set of industries. Their portfolio extends beyond the original plan of industrial design products, and now reaches to collaborations in interiors, public furniture, medical devices and exhibitions. Formed in 2002, their work is based on exploring the junction between industrial design and the world around us. The resulting pieces are beautiful, clean and express function but in a quiet unassuming way. I like this. Photography courtesy of Industrial Facility.


Swedish design studio, Form Us With Love, who’s incredible studio space in Stockholm we featured a few years ago, have recently designed this beautiful stool with clean-cut lines, interrupted by a recess that serves as a footrest, which brings to mind the cutting of a tree trunk, ‘fura’ in Swedish. Designed for Italian furniture and lighting brand, Plust, the Fura stool is matched with the Fura table, both of which express rational, clean and geometric forms. The Fura furniture, comprised of polyethylene, is available in a variety of colours that include white, rosemary, sandy, ashen, and pearl black. Brilliantly simple garden furniture.


The Spring Summer 2015 collection by New York City-based label Assembly entices with the effortlessly-casual designed with precise tailoring and draping. Owner Greg Armas’ expertise in both mens and womenswear manifests in the architecture of the details. His journey took Assembly from a fashion design resource to a multi-brand unisex boutique which has since led to their own in-house collection since 2009. Having collaborated with, sourced and sold hard-to-get pieces from brands of the same minimalist design sensibility, Assembly portrays a certain nonchalance towards other moving trends with its confident femininity, making it one of my favorite collections for this season.


Irene Noren — @irenenoren — is a Spanish stewardess and fashion blogger, based in Valencia. Today we catch up with Irene to take a closer look at her beautiful Instagram collection and incredible style, and how this collection has developed into a consistently minimalist aesthetic. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? I love the balance and harmony in minimalism. I adopt it to my lifestyle and in the way I dress, and that’s what I try to convey in the photos I capture. I also think that simplicity is the best way to live. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? My daily life is stressful enough, but I always look for that simplicity in the chaos in which our society lives — that’s what inspires me, finding the harmony in the chaos. When and how do you decide to take a photo? There is not always a good moment to capture a photo, but when I see something pure white for instance, such as a building or a piece of clothing, capturing that moment is a must. What is your favourite quote on minimalism? “Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require...


Tokyo based Ito Bindary has a rich history and creates beautiful products since the establishment of the notebook bindery plant back in 1938. Since 2009 started the sales of self-produced Memo Blocks. It is their current collection of Memo Blocks I would like to share with you. The Memo Block has a base of thick paperboard made from recycled cardboard providing stability and heft. The base gives a nice contract with the paper sheets on top. The precision-cut edges and  smooth surface makes these blocks perfect for notetaking and sketching out ideas. Each Memo Block, containing 350 tear-off sheets, come in a range of colours and modular sizes (107x107mm, 150x107mm and 257x75mm). The smallest block is available in four colours including a bright red. The other sizes are available in white, grey and black. If you use the black paper sheets it shows your writing in silver when you use a pencil.


The new headquarters of the Benéfico Social Padre Rubinos Institution is an impressive building financed by the Amancio Ortega Foundation and developed by Elsa Urquijo Architects. Opened last week and located in A Coruña, Spain, the building features the following facilities for people in a social emergency situation: hostel/refuge for transient people with no resources or home; redidence for the elderly and day centre with charitable nature; infants’ school for children born in families in a precarious financial situation; and the Padre Rubinos social headquarters. In total, a size of more than 15.000m2, the architects explain: It is a building that renounces the academic composition of the facade and turns it in a front porch that surrounds and defines the square. This invites us to move in that protected porch, discovering the different spaces that are linked to it, creating a frame in which life can flow and develop. A truly wonderful project with a predominantly white colour palette, where luminosity and horizontal lines produce a stable, calm and relaxing environment, and every detail is carefully considered.


FREAKS Free Architects recently designed this one-story apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. Completed this year, Geneva Flat is arranged to utilise every inch of space and does so brilliantly. The open floor plan is divided by thin white walls and panes of glass. Most of the walls serve more than one function. The walls become a wardrobe, bookshelf, and even a platform for the bed. The glass is a room separator but still allows each space of the apartment to feel connected. It also creates a bright and airy aesthetic throughout the home. Geneva Flat is decorated with monochrome furnishings and an artful light fixture. The gray and white palate of this apartment couldn’t be more simple. Yet, in a space as austere as Geneva Flat, every material is crucial to forming a comprehensive design scheme. Each element was chosen which great care, resulting in a composition that is both minimal and luxurious.


Ari Kanerva’s Tiuku Clock is a subtle and minimal take on the traditional grandfather style. His work is a dedication to minimalist details and to tirelessly researching functionality and ergonomics. His ethos is to make my design simple and functional, yet play with forms. There is a clear delineation from the formal and a strong divergence into design that emanates clarity of purposeful design. Function being key. Measuring 190cms in height, the Tiuku Clock transforms the conventional structure of the grandfather clock into the ideal urban representation of utility and consistency. Comprised of powder-coated sheet steel, it is available in four colour variations where the piece requires that it is mounted to the wall, but still remains in a subtle leaning-type stance. Born in Finland, with a background in Spatial and Furniture Design from the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Kanerva established his own design studio in 2010. His main focus is furniture and product design and he also assists companies with product design. The Tiuku Clock is just one of his many beautiful love children. Photography courtesy of Ari Kanerva and available through Covo and Luminaire.


Tokyo-based design office id created a charming wooden garden, for coffee appreciation in its simplest form, for Café Ki. The ambient is a case study for tiny shops, affirming its visual identity through a strong concept and leaving unnecessary embellishments behind. The café consists of a large white canvas in which tables are organically supported by black branches; mimicking a patch of woods. It is worth noting that Ki means Tree in Japanese — the pictogram-like simplification is quite elegant and straightforward — no gimmicks here. The brand identity of Café Ki keeps it functional and affordable with smart stickers and simple print materials as tools for serving each customer’s coffee needs. Not only does the café offer a sharp visual distinctiveness, but I reckon, would make for a great brand to import as a franchise. An increasingly rare and satisfying equation: affordability + style.