According to Suzy Menkes in the New York Times, Miuccia Prada’s primary aim with her Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection was to start from scratch. Decorative elements and accessorizing are pared back almost to nothing, giving full precedence to the flat and strictly geometric garments and the sparse modernist white ramps the models walked on. Fittingly, the soundtrack for the runway were excerpts from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 movie Contempt. My favorite aspect of this show is how skillfully color is composed across whole outfits. In one look, a contrasting white appears on the inseam of the trousers, the neckline of a t-shirt and the inner sleeve of a blazer. In addition, I found that the bold inclusion of younger and older male models, and female models suggested both androgyny and ubiquity. Oh, and you know I love socks with sandals.
Archive of June 2012
Lasso shoes, created by young French designer Gaspard Tiné-Berès, are a thing of simplicity that goes beyond the aesthetics. Made from a single piece of natural wool felt, they are shipped flat, which reduces shipping cost and storage space. The shoes acquire their 3D form through a simple 2D geometry and easy assembly. Here is how designer describes the concept: The slippers are delivered flat-packed for assembly by the user by “sewing” the seams with the standard laces supplied in a colour of their choice. The act of self-assembling the slippers increases the sense of ownership and emotional connection with them and allows for personalisation through the choice of laces used. The Lasso shapes are die-cut from sheets of 5mm thick felt with minimal and affordable tooling - making this product very suitable for small-scale local production. Simple design and simple business idea… A great example of shoestring wisdom! The Lasso shoes go on sale at the Tiné-Berès’ dedicated site starting this September.
This beautiful home is designed by Roberto Ercilla Arquitectura. Located in Barrundia, Spain, Dwelling in Etura is inspired by the slope of the surrounding landscape. The house begins at the start of the slope, cutting down into the hill on one side and extending out on the other side. The entrance sits below the land, while the roof holds a garden. The home is oriented south to appeal to the views and climate of this region. The entire structure is designed with reinforced concrete. I love this home! The materials and decoration are very simple, but the forms are incredibly dramatic. The cantilever in the back is especially thrilling. It is exciting to see such a strong gesture in a family home. The entrance to the rooftop garden is another beautiful form. Dwelling in Etura is a strong and stunning piece of architecture. This would certainly be a wonderful place to live.
Aidlin Darling Design have been my favorite San Francisco based architects for quite a long time. With a portfolio filled with one stunning project after the next, it is easy to see why. I have chosen to highlight the Sonoma Spa Retreat as it has become somewhat an iconic project to which I often return to for inspiration. The spa pavilion is an intimate private retreat extending of an existing rammed-earth house and is opened to the landscape, framing distant views of San Francisco to the south. The simplicity of the space only accentuates the impeccable precision of detailed design decisions which admirably come across effortless. One is then able to appreciate the spatial quality (immediate and outer) through curated material selection and mentioned framed views. In each project, we seek to uncover an inherent spirit of place and interpret constraints as catalysts for performative design. The individual character of each project emerges through poetic spatial relationships, material richness, and exacting detail. Fantastic design philosophy, don’t you think? I hope you enjoy their work.
We recently featured the work of Italian industrial designer and architect, Alessandro Di Prisco, with his SILK design. Today, I’m introducing you to another beautifully simplistic creation by the Napoli based designer. It is Cubico – a minimalist cubic furniture item that can be used in a variety of ways. Di Prisco explains: The Cubico design is produced by the subtractive process, progressively removing material from an accomplished figure, the cube, introducing voids, fissures in its linearity. Cubico does not have an exact position or even a specific function, as the position of the object can determine its function. Whether you use it as a magazine rack, a coffee table, a stool or even a decorative addition to your living space, Cubico is an attractive and practical piece of furniture.
I would like to share the hat and shoe rack Nostalgi, by Gunnar Bolin, with you. Created in 1937 this is a classic in the Swedish furniture history. I love the simple structure and appearance of the rack which is molded from recycled aluminum. Bolin founded Skoglunds Metallgjuteri in Anderstorp, Sweden and this rack was his first creation. Former employee Sten-Roger Bladh succeeded the rights of the classical products and continued in 2002 the traditional and artisanal production in Anderstorp under the name Essem Design. Now days Nostalgi is available in a range of 17 material and color combinations.
Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!
Minimalism takes a seductive form in leather and silk under one of Berlin’s most promising labels, Don’t Shoot The Messenger. Produced by Canadian fashion designer Jen Gilpin who is based in Germany’s hippest city at the moment, the line frequently uses both materials in juxtaposition. Leather provides structure to the fluidity of silk, designed to compliment the shape of the body in a sculptural, elegant style that is both visually striking and timeless. The label’s Autumn Winter look book of 2012 is styled with a little hint of drama from the small details of the outfits. Cut outs, asymmetry, and sheer silhouettes as well as capes, belts and collars stand out in the images. Together with the richness and texture of each material used for every outfit, I have to say that simplicity has never been less boring.
Keep on Turnin’ is a minimal stereo system by German designer Valerie Hebel that combines analog and digital music in one sleek item. The all-in-one arrangement includes a turning table, CD player and an iPod docking station. It even has a cool colourful storage compartment for your vinyls. Thanks to its elegant appearance, Keep on Turnin’ does not look like a piece of technology, but rather makes an aesthetic statement in the space it occupies. Here is how the designer describes it: Listening to vinyl is a way of life: the gentle lowering of the needle, the uniform rotation of the plate, the characteristic cracking during the playback, is a celebration of music. Keep on Turnin’ is a stereo system that brings back the pleasure of music. As an alternative to the usually identical and mostly technical design of stereo systems it should find its place as a piece of furniture. It convinces by its sound experience and serves a decorative quality piece of furniture. Check out the video to see the piece in action.
This project, called Dove House, is a gorgeous home extension designed by the London architectural firm Gundry & Ducker. Before the extension the kitchen was dark and narrow and the home’s outdoor space was limited. Gundry & Ducker opened up the space by adding a new roof and large windows, as well as a renovation of the garden. The home now has a gorgeous, monochromatic kitchen and a garden that acts like an extra room. My favorite part of this project is the way the extension interacts with the existing Victorian house. The black and white color scheme and the modern materials contrast beautifully with the rich tones and materials of the rest of the home. The windows in the extension bring more natural light into the home and the garden space even includes a playhouse for the children! This project proves that two opposite design styles, when skillfully combined, can form a unique and attractive new space.
Being listened to without being judged. This is the main purpose of the Kamppi Chapel of Silence, that has been recently opened in Helsinki, Finland. The curved wooden structure without windows serves as a refuge to the people who want to express their problems to the social workers in a calm and warm atmosphere, replacing the traditional social offices. The access to the chapel is through a glaze entrance and concrete corridor, and another great aspect to the inside of this build is the indirect toplight, illuminating the interior space. The chapel was developed by K2S Architects, also based in Helsinki. I really like the warmth and the feeling of being involved with the wood.
Hannes Harms, a German industrial designer and graduate from the Royal College of Art, recently completed and presented his latest design of the stylish Flat Boombox – a minimal personal audio solution consisting of a perforated sheet of acid-etched stainless steel. Harms explains: For this speaker, I decided to focus on the idea of the flatness of future electrical components. I wanted to reduce manufacturing processes as well as material and volume. This speaker is made out of a flat sheet of 0.5mm stainless steel, holding a flat speaker component in place. I love the fact the flat sheet can be easily bent in scored lines as a home assembly. I’d be very interested to discover the sound quality for this speaker. Even so, there’s little denying this is a very creative piece of design.