Minimalissimo


Exhibited at this year’s Milan Design week this beautiful and minimalist collection of shelves and tables is designed by Japanese studio Nendo for Glas Italia. Slide is a collection that includes two shelving units, a counter unit and a pair of small side tables that express a “slide” of position by focusing on the technology that bonds glass to glass. One black sheet of glass is bonded in a way that it has slid from its original position. Nendo comments: The shelves are particularly challenging to develop, since the black glass that is sticking out has to be attached to a transparent glass using an extremely small area of the cross-section. The same materials are used for the cuboid tables, which have tops shifted away from their dark bases in a similar way. The tables look as though the surface on top of the black box has been opened in a slightly slid position. Extremely simple. I love the glass, which is a radical and pure material and the Slide collection interprets these characteristics perfectly. Photography by Kenichi Sonehara.


The Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is complete, just in time for the opening of the 56th Biennale in May of this year. The International Art Exhibit, taking place once every two years, has been held in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, or the Biennale Gardens, since 1895. It is traditional for architects to design their home country’s pavilion as a unique identifier for their nation. The gardens include works by architecture greats such as Carlo Scarpa, Gerrit Rietveld, and Alvar Aalto. Australia’s Pavilion was in major need of an update: the country had been using the same temporary structure since 1988. Designed by Melbourne-based firm Denton Corker Marshall, the new pavilion’s dark square mass looms powerfully over its bordering canal. The facade is made from large slabs of black granite which protrude at points, allowing natural light to enter the windowless interior. The entrance floats on a concrete terrace, accessed by a dark steel ramp. On the canal side, the structure cantilevers slightly; this subtle gesture both embraces and respects the distinct environment. The interior is a clean, white box: the perfect canvas for various art exhibits. Australia’s sculpture-like pavilion is sure to be a hit at this Biennale and many...


AÃRK Collective’s timepiece range is a fusion of tradition and precision. Each piece uses Swiss and Japanese Quartz movements and hand-dipped casings and soft Horween leather straps. The Eclipse is the epitome of this balance and discipline. Inspired by time and the duality of night and day through the dual-tones of materiality and formal placement. The simple, contrasting dial evokes the moon’s movement in relation to the earth and the sun. Based in Melbourne, Australia, AÃRK Collective sees a collaboration of four creative aligned by family and a love of design. Emphasizing the need for quality and considered pieces has meant the resulting design is the uncomplicated and imbues minimalism. There is a simplicity in the undoing, and the careful placement of elements coming together. AÃRK Collective put as much thought into the parts that most people won’t see, and the result is beautiful. Photography courtesy AÃRK Collective.


Milan Design Week is an interesting stage for cutting-edge innovations by newcomers, as well as a place for veterans to showcase their expectedly praise-worthy material. Although the press excitement is often directed for explicit solution-seeking projects; that would be ill-advised, because there is much to celebrate in new twists of traditional objects. Norm Architects unveils their new collaboration with Italian design brand Ex.t, stamping their usual world-class concepts and trustworthy minimalist sensibilities for a bathroom collection. It boils down to a simple metal structure, taking cues from the modernist style of the 1920’s and 30’s, the project reduces it all to very few geometric lines. The end-result is light and elegant looking, both unusual qualities for bathroom furnishings. The Stand bathtub and washbasin are impressive — they would fit perfectly as part of a Mies van der Rohe geometric house, a small and lean urban apartment or even a bucolic house in the country looking for a contemporary twist. The Felt modular wall unit plays off the eclectic potential for daily use in the bathroom, or throughout the house. Last but not least, the Hat lamp exposes the raw wood proudly. The new collection is yet another great addition to...


Celebrated minimalist architect John Pawson has created an ethereal physical space for London-based label and designer Christopher Kane‘s very first boutique on Mount Street. Kane’s designs in no way have a minimalist language, with bright colors and geometric patterns in the current season. Yet Pawson’s space is a match made in contrast heaven with the use of off-white surfaces, mirrored walls and glass vitrines and display shelves. Accessories are displayed on fluorescent-coloured plates that rest on glass shelves in the wall as a small subtle hint to Kane’s effervescent designs. Using highly polished stainless-steel mirroring on the rail down the staircase that connects womenswear on the ground floor to the menswear on the lower floor, the descent is illuminated by a large cylindrical chandelier that emphasizes the volume of this atrium. The rail sits recessed into the wall, a clever architectural detail of Pawson’s, so clothes can be hung on display along the shape of the rail. Having designed only a small number of retail spaces, Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York being one of them, John Pawson’s retail portfolio can look forward to the expansion of more Christopher Kane’s stores, since establishing the brand’s spatial identity in this beautiful, minimalist architecture.


A collaboration between London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Hattie Newman, Paper Mountains, recycles and decontextualizes the intricate paper sculptures created by Hattie for a project both had previously worked on, suddenly giving them new life. Generally speaking sets for photoshoots tend to be made as one offs — once the shoot is over the set might be stored, recycled or disposed of; an enormous amount of work goes into producing the sets yet the work of the designer might end up hidden from view. After realising how some of the elements of the set would make a great project in their own right, they set to create a series of formal studies, finding a fresh set of characteristics in the pieces. Some of the technical work that would normally be hidden, like the joining flaps of two paper mountains, were made visible. In some cases the pieces have been placed without reference to how they might stand in reality. For Drummond, the objects became suggestive of entirely different things than what they originally meant — beached ships or sea-creatures left stranded at the high tide mark.


The Italian furniture company, Kristalia, fast becoming a Minimalissimo favourite, recently introduced to us the beautiful OXO family of chairs, designed by Xavier Lust, which will be on display at Milan Design Week later this month. Oxo is the outcome of both ongoing research by Kristalia to find new production technologies and Xavier Lust’s in-depth knowledge of aluminium. In this design project, the designer highlights the hallmarks that have made him famous: curves created by his innovative process of bending metal surfaces. A long time admirer of Lust’s work, this is Kristalia first collaboration with the designer, which has resulted in an exquisite and minimalistic collection of outdoor stackable chairs where the beauty lies in the details, such as the twist that is seen on the base, the torsion of the aluminium tube. Wonderful.


Light in Water is a remarkably beautiful installation developed by Parisian DGT architects, initially four years ago during Milan Design Week, but has now been relaunched in the Éléphant Paname Art and Dance Centre, located in Paris, for its opening event of 2015. Sixteen rings of slotted tubes fitted to the ceiling, with each hole providing sixty drops of water per second falling due to gravity, for a total amount of three tons of water continually recirculating in the space. This creates an immersive and sensitive experience using two different tones of light. The architects tell us: Light and water are essences of everything; without any light and water, there is no evolution in life for all. Light in Water is part of the exhibition Lumieres — The Play of Brilliants and will be exhibited until 31 May.


This unassuming family home in Finland is designed by OOPEAA, or Office for Peripheral Architecture. OOPEAA strives for an architecture that finds its inspiration in the state of being in-between – between urban and rural, but always in relationship to both; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary. House Riihi is the perfect example of OOPEAA’s mission. House Riihi is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish cottage, stationed alone in an often snowy field in the small village of Alajärvi. The home is comprised of three buildings: the main house, a garage, and a lofted studio. The pale wood structure sits low to the ground and is arranged around an inner garden. This arrangement is inspired by Finnish farms, where cottages were positioned around a central courtyard. With this composition, the garden is protected from the harsh climate and becomes a peaceful refuge all year long. The interior is clad from floor to ceiling in natural and white-painted spruce. The light colors allow House Riihi to feel airy and bright, as well as warm and cozy. Minimal furnishings, some matching the spruce of the walls, create an atmosphere of openness where the home’s architecture can really shine. House Riihi is...


Mifune Design Studio’s Y-Hangers piece sits as a light-weight functional sculpture. The single-framed metal arm bends to create multiple hanging locations vertically. The hangers themselves are also designed, specifically, for loading the coat rack with numerous items, seamlessly, and consistently. And when not in use, the hangers sit flat, aligned with the metal, painted base. The overall result is one of clear thin lines that quietly add to a space, without dominating it. Which is beautiful. Mifune is headed by Yasutoshi Mifune, who was born in Tattori and now resides in Osaka where the studio is located. He acquired knowledge about design through self-education while working at a few architectural design offices and interior design companies. Following this, he set up his own studio that encompasses design that is true to Japanese design with regard to beauty and spirituality. Photography courtesy of Mifune Design Studio.


Brasília is known far and wide for its unique urban planning by Lúcio Costa and, unsurprisingly, modernist architecture that comes along with it by Oscar Niemeyer. Taking into account the particularities of Niemeyer’s buildings, such as explicit concrete structures, geometric sharp angles, surprising curves and the sheer large scale and amplitude of each creation. The often-considered futuristic designs are no strangers to coffee table photography books, so it’s refreshing to see a masterful take of Brasília’s iconic buildings with a minimalist and night-time twist. Norway-based photographer Øystein Aspelund visited the modern capital of Brazil and managed to capture a fascinating collection of unlikely portraits of famous buildings with great expertise in shadow play; whilst making very clear how grand the scale is, towering over the lone human figures. The variety and eclecticism of textures and forms is exquisite, all the while achieving a clear minimalist visual composition. Øystein showcases Brasília’s modernism with a night shade that covers the surrounding areas to expose the expressive and very authentic elements from each building. This is a great introduction for newcomers and an unusual take for locals and enthusiasts to behold. To simplify and reduce successfully is not an easy task at all...


It is only the second collection of Warsaw based fashion brand THISISNON, but an international audience for their designs is already well established. The new summer collection, RAW SILK consolidates THISISNON’s concept of presenting only a few essential pieces — in this case six pieces made of 100% silk — to encourage respect for the world’s resources and professional craftsmanship. The collection’s use of raw, undyed fabric reveals the natural structure of silk, while the chosen shade of white evokes the rawness of sandstone and clay. The immaculate way THISISNON translates the above aspiration into a self-contained style, imagery and communication is simply captivating. Their pieces are the perfect example of high-end garments not conflicting with everyday life, but reminding their wearer of why certain materials — like merino wool or silk — became so loved in the first place. Wearing anything less suddenly seems quite pointless.