Minimalissimo


The challenge that an architect has to face when producing a restricted minimalist space is always an interesting one. Materiality and transparency then inform the degree of openness within that perimeter. With such a small site in the ever-shrinking land of Japan, designers Takahashi Maki and Shiokami Daisuke of Takahashi Maki & Associates had created an architecture that helps light penetrate through, while still maintain the privacy and coziness of a residential unit. Located in Saitama Prefecture, White Hut exposes itself through two vertical glass panels that run parallel to each other, giving the outsiders a glimpse of the staircase, the workspace, and the kitchen. While the visual connection is apparent, the boundaries among spatial interior are also blurred to give a sense of freedom; each floor is its own room with no door. The bathroom is placed above other programs to maintain privacy, with light coming from all sides especially the two openings of the slanted roofs, which resembles the traditional housings that already pre-exist. The decision to apply corrugated metal for the exterior delivers a sense of lightness that goes against the usual aesthetic of Japanese designs. I thoroughly enjoy the flow of space within the house because...


This minimalist lamp is a recent creation of the Japanese studio YOY, who’s work we previously featured. The piece, laconically titled Light, is a modern take on an old concept. It breathes new life into a familiar lampshade idea. Thanks to the cleverly shaped LED fixture, the lamp produces a lampshade-like projection on the wall. I love the humor of this lamp. The poll is shaped like a socket, creating an illusion of the invisible lightbulb. The piece comes in two forms, as a table and floor lamp. It has debuted at the 2014 Milano Salone.


This simple Japanese home may not look like much from the street, but step through its metal facade and everything changes. Cave House, designed by Kento Eto Atelier Architects, features a metal frame that is guarded and impervious on the street side, but open and welcoming in the back of the home. Just inside the structure’s entrance is a narrow garden, lit by a large opening high on the front facade. Sliding walls connect the living room to the garden, creating an indoor-outdoor style environment. These same walls are used in the rear of the home to link the first floor with a backyard meadow. Three bedrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a thin metal staircase. Two of the bedrooms possess a large window overlooking the garden. The third incorporates a mini balcony. My favorite pieces of architecture are those which blend the built and natural environments. Cave House is located in a residential neighborhood, but it showcases the same union with nature as a house built in a forest. This home proves that one does not need a site in the middle of the woods to design a structure with a strong relationship to the outdoors.


Marijana Gligic’s Type II Perfume is a prototype for the luxurious perfume bottle and package design. Its dedication to adhering strictly to minimalist lines and typography is to be commended. Gligic has made a concerted effort to express the luxury brand through its emphasis on form and one that would resemble forms found in nature, such as geographical crystals. The overarching concept was driven by a want to showcase the product and its packaging as sculptural work that can be showcased in an everyday space. I feel that this is both beautifully articulated and executed. The bottle itself is comprised of alabaster gypsum and was awarded for best packaging exhibited at the Belgrade Polytechnic College. Born and based out of Belgrade, Serbia, Marijana Gligic is one to watch. Awarded for her photographic work, editorials and graphic design, she is sure to continue to flourish through her considered disciplined dedication to beautiful simple design. Photography courtesy of Marijana Gligic.


I have a strong appreciation for minimalist photography, and when Portuguese photographer & filmmaker Nuno Andrade introduced his recent work to me, I was excited to share this with you, our readers. Nuno Andrade’s project titled EBM, is a brilliant and beautifully captured collection inspired by the Marine Biology Station of Funchal. This infrastructure is dedicated to scientific research and is designed to enable the development of science and technologies of the Sea, in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, especially in the areas of biology and ecology of coastal and deep waters. The building itself is designed by architect Gonçalo Byrne and consists of six floors. Minimalist architecture encapsulated by minimalist photography, which has been superbly executed by Andrade. He writes: I consider myself a coherent photographer and I know that my projects are expressions of my personal likes. I love visions with great impact, and I try to create powerful and timeless images.


Renowned Lunetier Lionel Sonkes whose store on a small street in Brussels had commissioned Nicolas Schuybroek Architects with Marc Merckx Interiors to completely refurbish and rethink the existing shop, atelier and facade, in a warm, minimal and elegant volume. For over 20 years, Sonkes has been selling imported high-end glasses as well as custom made ones. Recognized as the Belgian equivalent of Maison Bonnet in Paris, the retail architecture by the design team had to reflect that reputation. What this optical store lacked in physical footprint was made up in its luxurious interiors. All the custom-made furniture and simple facade was designed with respect to the sleek minimalist character of the store. What I love most about this project is that instead of displaying an overwhelming variety of product, Sonkes Lunetterie has let the interior architecture speak for the atelier. The best examples executed here are the subtle volumes for merchandising, beautifully designed into wall niches, black metal framed vitrines and Carrara marble pedestals. The grey veins of the marble compliment the grey/white brushed oak wall panels and chevron-laid reclaimed oak floors, tying into the overall elegant and minimal architecture. Photography by ©CAFEINE/Thomas De Bruyne for NSArchitects and images courtesy of Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.


Menu has just launched the Chair #01  at the Salone Satellite in Milan this week. Designed by Stockholm studio Afteroom, the beautiful chair has a minimal solid-steel structure with three legs and back support and seat comprised of oak. Afteroom’s Hung-Ming Chen explains: The Afteroom Chair is an homage to Bauhaus and functionalism. The simplicity of its design combined with the quality of materials is what’s important. It is based on the concept of reducing the amount of materials to the minimum and by doing so pushing the aesthetic appearance to the maximum. The chair is available in black and white, and the collection also includes a stackable side table and a stoneware caddy.


Londen based design pratice DesignWright, founded by the brothers Jeremy & Adrian Wright, created a minimalist eye catching wrist watch named NUNO for Lexon. The NUNO wrist watch is a solid Quartz analog watch with a steel case and leather strap. The Wright brothers play with the expectations of a traditional watch; the traditional hands were replaced by two rotating discs. Two markers indicate the hours and minutes. The watch is completed with a simple steel case and leather strap. The NUNO wrist watch is suitable for both men and women. Currently there are four colour variants, all of which are equally attractive in their simplicity.


Most minimalist lighting projects shun wires, treat them like an eyesore that should be hidden from view. Paris based designer Arik Levi embraced the enemy and made it a focal point of his pendant light collection Wireflow for the Spanish brand Vibia. These lights consist of thin extra long metal rods with the LED fixtures on its ends. These long wires can create various two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes. I love how sculpturesque these lamps are. Who would have thought that a simple thread of metal and a light could create such powerful presence in a room. The Wireflow collection has won the Wallpaper Design Award 2014 as the Best Line Work.


Private House is a vacation home located in a scenic and secluded part of England known as Cotswolds. Designed by London based architecture firm Found Associates, the house is an extension of an 18th century stone cottage. The structure extends from both ends of the old cottage but doesn’t fully envelope it. This design allows both the cottage and extension to feel like unique volumes living in harmony. Private House also sits harmoniously with the surrounding landscape: the large structure dwells low on the site so as not to block the picturesque vistas of the rolling green hills. The clean, minimal nature of the home lends itself to feeling like an art gallery. However, in the absence of artwork, the house and surrounding landscape are the objects on exhibit. I think minimal homes tend to make the best vacation homes: one can truly relax in a peaceful setting free of distractions. Private House won the RIBA National Award in 2012 and was nominated for the RIBA Manser Medal.


Federico Floriani’s On The Rocks are a tribute to the traditional way of chilling drinks. Made from white marble, these beauties are founded on the principles of traditional thermal mass principles. On The Rocks are made from various geometric shaped pieces of stone that are intended to create a sense of landscape in your glass. In these, the beauty of the stone itself is the feature with its natural organic veined lines and hues of whites and greys. On The Rocks can be put in a freezer and later used in place of ice cubes to chill alcoholic bevaerages without diluting. These gems are an in valuable addition to any minimal entertaining ensemble and can be purchased through Fabrica. Hats off to Fenderico Floriani. Photography courtesy of Federico Floriani.


Dutch design office Oato., who’s work we have previously featured, recently introduced me to their latest design — Shift — a minimalistic set of tables with a playful design with many different sides and subtle bending details. The Shift tables are laser-cut from a continuous rectangular sheet of 3mm steel. We strategically left small segments of a few millimetres connected so it becomes possible to fold the table into the desired shape merely by hand. The outcome is a playful setup, which was created by balancing the desired structural and visual effect. The tables, which are available in two sizes — a side table & a coffee table — are finished with a slightly textured matt white coating to give maximum expression to the shape with all the different angles and edges in various shades of white. Oato.’s lead designer Stefan Tervoort explains: We think that this table’s aesthetic and details of the hand bending sets it aside from many other cold, straight folded sheet metal furniture. There is a certain softness/emotion in those corners, something unpredictable that brakes with the industrial nature of the design. We think we made a transition from displaying a technique into using a technique...