Minimalissimo


The design agency Nendo has created yet another retail space for the Japanese label, Beige. In addition to clothing, this concept store located in  Tamagawa Takashimaya was also intended to sell interior goods, hold books for lending, and even turned into a gallery space for events and art exhibitions. Maintaining the brand’s minimalist direction, Nendo cleverly optimizes the already tiny space, zoning it vertically: library on top, clothing in the center and display gallery at the base. A 7.5mm beam installed at 2.05 meters above the floor serves as an attic-like shelf for the library of books, with magnetic bookends that keep them in place. Clothes and bags placed on hangers freely located around the store while low plinths serve as fixtures for display or for customers to step on and reach the clothes and books at the height of the beam. What a simple yet clever detail that takes the customer’s journey over the multiple levels. Its intentionally clean and pure finishes let the products and the activities stand out in the space. The space, though designed for the specific retail needs of the brand, manages to achieve a unique and flexible customer experience in a very simple concept. Photography courtesy of Takumi Ota.


Sophia Molen — @sophiamolen — is a Dutch fashion blogger originally from Amsterdam. Having previously studied in Bio-Medical Sciences, Sophia now runs a number of successful blogs including Blog and The City and Minimal Blogs. With a strong focus on minimalist fashion, we take a closer look at Sophia’s beautifully captured Instagram, selecting some of our favourite photographs, and discovering how she has come to create such a striking and stylish collection. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? The philosophy of Taoism is a great inspiration to keep things simple. I find harmony and peace in minimalism. And you know what? I do even find spontaneity in simplicity. I guess because of the truth lying in harmony. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? To be honest, being surrounded by people tends to decrease my creativity. Being surrounded by things associated with my dreams, positively influences my creativity. Yet something as simple as light, might have a magnificent effect on me as well. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I don’t really randomly take photographs. Mostly trying to be in the moment, I often don’t even consider capturing it. However, during planned photoshoots for my blog, I’m searching...


The German design label Studio Hausen has rethought a modern classic of design; the hanging shelf. The link shelf is stripped down to the essentials; a number of massive ash wood shelve boards and a set of black steel mounting brackets. I like the contrast of the natural wood and dark steel and the open structure of the shelf. The open character makes the shelf perfect to store and display acquired treasures. One can easily arrange, and expand, the elements of the shelf by himself adapted to his needs and space requirements and play with the many potential compositions. The link shelf was exclusively availabale in two variants through MONOQI and was a real hit.


A hundred years after the start of the First World War in 1914, The International Memorial Notre-Dame de Lorette was inaugurated last week, to reconcile the 580,000 casualties of the war in northern France. With a great sense of respect, regardless of nationality, rank or religion, all names have been written in alphabetical order on three-metre high walls, along a giant elliptical ring comprised of concrete for the exterior, and inset with 500 copper-toned panels. The memorial has been designed be the architect Philippe Prost and explains that he looked for a sense of unity with this form: I was thinking about the rings you make when you’re a child, or a human ring when everyone holds each other’s hands in a sign of fellowship, and that seemed to me like the image, the form, best suited to speaking about these soldiers killed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, and who today are brought together all in one place. Brusque and delicate at the same time, symbolic and sensitive, a work full of emotion that does not leave indifference.


This lovely family home in Carrara, Italy is the result of a full renovation by Victor Vasilev Architect. The original home was designed in traditional farmhouse style, but the residents’ wanted a more contemporary home. Vasilev’s distinct Soldati home satisfies all cravings for modernity. The floor plan is simple: living spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms above. A large porch provides an outdoor sanctuary in the back of the home. The exterior was kept traditional: a nod to the home’s original styling. The beauty of Soldati is in the composition of the interior materials. Square volumes are structured to create walls, floors, stairs, and furniture. Comprised of travertine, teak, black granite, and white sheetrock, the volumes are nestled together in unique arrangements. My favorite design moment is the staircase: the floating travertine treads against the white walls exude elegance and charm. Furnishings are scattered among the interior like sculptures in a gallery. Furniture rarely matches architecture as seamlessly as in Soldati. The choice of materials, attention to detail, and combination of old and new make Soldati a portrait of modern residential design.


Stevan Djurovic’s Luna Lamp is a bold and beautiful statement in lighting. Standing, literally, as a beacon of illumination, it also has its own sculptural presence. This piece sees a minimal powder-coated matte finish metal frame, supporting an almost floating bulb-type piece. The bulb itself is also moveable, and its movement is the method by which the light is switched on (demonstrated here). There is an almost weightless quality to the lamp, creating the illusion of it floating. The resulting form is gallant but somehow subtle. Born in Kraljevo, Serbia, Djurovic’s has seen a number of creative collaborations, international design awards and publications. He is currently studying Interior Architecture at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts in Kragujevac. The Luna Lamp is available through Monoqi.


Berlin based store, SIMON&ME, has an approach to design that strips away superfluous embellishments, emphasising the very core of a product and unveiling their minimalist signature. Their latest product is an expansion of the beautifully simple, copper bracelet, this week announcing the design of a sleek silver version. This quality, hand-crafted bracelet is designed and developed from scratch in Berlin and is the perfect minimalist accessory I’ve been looking for. The silver bracelet is also nicely wrapped in white paper, presented in carefully embossed SIMON&ME packaging, and will be rolled out early next year to stockists. Simple and striking jewellery — the ideal gift. Photography courtesy of SIMON&ME.


Amsterdam based fashion label Avelon claims to whisper, not shout. Still, the word about its impressive, effortless yet sophisticated style has spread worldwide, starting with Erik Frenken taking over as the label’s head of design in 2010 and peaking with its first show in Paris for Spring/Summer 2015. But let us have a look a the current collection first. The sculptural but relaxed silhouettes are monochromely bathed in nude tones, black, white and an extraordinary jade green. Classic styles like sporty sweaters, basecaps and shirts are deconstructed, exaggerated in their shape and combined with feminine waistlines or hemlines. A perfect blend of streetwear and immaculate tailoring. Or as the designer himself puts it: Avelon is something that changes every season but stays close to its signature: luxurious yet raw, effortless yet directional, and feminine yet tough. But I have to say that the real goal of the brand is to create energy. — style.com review


Still life photographer Benedict Morgan‘s portfolio consists of pure, uncluttered product shots, set against simply lit backgrounds and boasting a clean, sharp finish that convey a style based on clarity, composure and a striking minimalist sensibility. Based in London, Morgan works predominantly in the fashion industry and has shot for clients such as Givenchy, Hermès and L.K.Bennett, as well as magazines such as British Esquire and Wonderland. My personal favourite is his Perfume series (featured image), highlighting the singularity of those classic bottles through mysterious and alluring lighting.


The recent completion of the Long Museum West Bund by Atelier Deshaus — an architecture firm based in China — is a spectacle of concrete curves that act as structural vaults, holding up the new additions to the existed wharf for coal transportation in Xuhui, Shanghai. This museum blurs the seams of the concrete connections, linking spatial differences to create a sense of vastness that is both minimally designed and experientially effective. The grey walls act as a background that gives rise to the displayed art pieces, while the mesh facades shed lights onto the flowing interior of this building. The blend of structures and the shear walls, the inside and outside, the old and the new, is what give the museum a unique spacelessness and timelessness. The only indication of spatial separation is the contrast of the wooden surface on the second floor with the dominance of concrete. I personally love the whimsical and beautiful personality of the curves; they connect the two level of the museum effortlessly. This flow gives the audience a freedom of roaming through this exhibition space, which was the initial intention of the architects. Photography courtesy of Su Shengliang & Xia Zhi.


Madrid based contemporary art gallery Sabrina Amrani exhibited at the last Artissima art fair in Turin Waqas Khan, a talented Pakistani artist. After studying at the National College of Arts and graduating as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, his work has been exhibited in renowned international galleries. He trained in the traditional practice of miniature painting, inspired by Muslim, Hindu and Sufi traditions, but instead uses his skills to create drawings on a large scale. The process is almost architectural, like building something slowly, brick by brick. The bricks are dots, marks and lines, assembled with precision and delicacy into simple compositions. An idea of instability is told with abstract drawings, small circles spread with precision and freedom in geometric but unpredictable patterns. I like that. Some of these works have been recently acquired by prestigious institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and the Devi Foudation, New Delhi. Photography courtesy of Sabrina Amrani.


This studio is the stunning headquarters of Norm Architects, a firm based in Copenhagen. Norm Architects are experts at combining traditional Scandinavian design with a modern palette. It is only fitting that the studio they created for themselves would represent this lovely design philosophy. Located in a classic building on a cobblestone street, this studio is the perfect setting for collaboration and creative production. The office features several conference tables, sitting areas, and displays of the firm’s work. Everything in the office follows a monochrome color palette. The grey, white, and black tones are an ideal backdrop for architecture and design work. The simplicity and impeccable details in this studio are hallmarks of Norm’s designs. I couldn’t imagine a better space for this intelligent and creative team to work in.