Minimalissimo


Search results for “Character”

Character is a Finnish company that recycles old neon signs, created by designer Aleksi Hautamäki. Their process consists in choosing the most stylish letters and turning them into individual and unique design objects, and their sustainability is further enhanced by replacing the neon tubes with LEDs. They add a transformer, install a power cord and off the letters go with a new life cycle. You can even buy one online. Neon signs have this capacity to attract and focus one’s attention, stripping away their surroundings – a single neon letter enhances that effect even more so. In these installations photographed by Johan  Warden, they become minimalist beacons, softly illuminating unexpected new spaces.


The brand and innovation firm Wolff Olins has developed this beautifully simple project for Infotech Enterprises, an Indian firm specialised in engineering and data services. Seeking a strategic change, the new brand Cyient was created to generate new customers, talent and even acquisitions, starting a new chapter after two decades. The new identity for Cyient is incredibly simple in its design, with a customised “E” with a dot for the logo and for the communication — a characteristic that will always make the brand identifiable, even without using the logo. Furthermore, this dot will be ever present and will reinforce all the visual elements of the brand — framing texts, images, graphics or videos. A simple yet powerful concept. You can also watch a video presentation of the brand.


Last year, the successful Spanish studio Lavernia & Cienfuegos designed the Etnia Shops, including the furniture and the image, for the brand Etnia Cosmetics, resulting in a remarkable project. The main goal was focused on establishing great efficieny, functionality and image, so the main characteristics of the shops are the modularity, the product presentation and the general appeal of the product. I love the combination of the white and the clear wood tones, giving the interior a feeling of warmth along with the carefully considered lighting. And all of these characteristics emphasise the products with their powerful colours. Fantastic work without doubt.


Mamba, by Bulgarian designer Victor Vasilev for MDF Italia is more than a shelf. It’s a perfect combination of shape, function and material, a unique mix of a shelf, a console and a desk with a LED light source which creates a new kind of furnishing. Mamba is a new concept of furniture comprised of Cristaplant, that fits into a modern domestic space with a unique image, sensual to the eye and to the touch that seems to materialize from the wall and then vanishes. In 2013, two years after the launch of Mamba, Mamba Light was created. A sober hanging desk or a decorative shelf that lends itself to different uses and home environments — from the living room to the studio. Mamba Light is a shelf-desk cabinet made of medium-density wood fiberboard, with variable thickness, curved mold, matt white, green, orange, blue, sand, ivory, yellow and gray coated finish. The basic shape gives the product a unique design and identity of a strong iconic character.


Beam armchair is a minimalist design created by the Netherlands based studio Oato in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier. The piece has been inspired by stacked beam structures used in many cultures. Designers explain their process: All the structural elements are squared, like wooden construction beams. All parts that involve sitting or touching are rounded and have different profiles accenting their own character and role. The price of the chair is quite approachable, especially considering the fact that it is mostly handmade. Another important achievement by the designers… The piece is made of oak with natural oil finish.


Villa E is a luxury Moroccan home designed by Studio KO. Studio KO is formed of architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, and the firm is based in both Paris and Morocco. Their architectural style expertly blends eastern and western design. Villa E is a lodge located at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Viewed from below, the home appears to be a castle or fortress looming above the rugged countryside. But step closer and you’ll find a warm and comforting home with a distinct style. The facade is of Villa E is covered in Ouriko stone, a red, brick-like stone which is locally sourced and characteristic to the architecture of the region. The windows are carefully placed to create the most airflow and eliminate direct sunlight. In a hot climate such as Morocco’s architects must tailor their designs around the powerful desert sun. The interior features high quality materials such as marble and slate, as well as traditional Moroccan furnishings and artwork. And of course, every room with an oversize window is arranged to maximize the stunning view of the mountains. Villa E is perfectly suited to its harsh environment. I love how the design can be traditional and contemporary, luxurious and minimal. Every element pairs together effortlessly for...


Hey is a design studio working mostly in brand identity, illustration and editorial design. Small in size but very big in outreach, the Barcelona-based studio is much beloved internationally, with a marked a style based on simplicity and synthetis and a lovely use of color and geometry. Verónica, Ricardo and Mikel kindly received me for a brief chat about the process behind their very own brand of minimalist work. When you work with synthesis, ultimately you are seeking a concept, and for the most direct way of translating and communicating that graphically. Their poster work is prolific and one of their favorite ways to distill their graphic philosophy. Using the power of cogency — the capacity one has for remembering something visual — they create work that is immediately memorable. Hey always search for the essence in their concepts, and approach a problem with a methodical functionality that is refreshing and produces results that are so well-crafted they become endearing, like with their latest personal project, Every Hey — a daily Instagram feed where they illustrate characters from pop culture. Every illustration is created based on a modular grid system, without ornament, in an effort to optimize the eye in order for it to see better, a strategy they have applied time and again with their popular Monocle maps. The studio’s...


Most of our readers must have remembered Dylan Cao, a young accessories designer based in New York, from our Inside Instagram feature. Now with a degree and the title Designer of The Year for Accessories Design from Parsons University, he is here again to showcase his awarded footwear collection. Simply coating in white, this series of minimal designs reflects the designer’s personal experience as a mental patient. The stark and pristine definition faithfully delivers the sterility of an institution; however in this case, sterility takes on many other layers of complexity. To contrast the monotony, the decision to include the metal heels, as a direct translation of the sterile stools at the facility, is rather clever. Not only that, but they also have a relation to the doctoral equipments, taking on different geometric shapes. The inclusion of screws creates machinery image while the interplay of leather panels gives a newness to the silhouettes. As a whole, it is an experimentation of form and structure, as well as color (or the lack thereof) and material. I especially enjoy the addition of the supporting leather strap on one of the sandals. Even without the apparent appearance of the metal legs, that line adds...


Casa Spodsbjerg is a family summer home on a rocky beach in Denmark. Completed in 2010 by Arkitema Architects, this house is designed to take advantage of the views and characteristics of its site. The structure is composed of two staggered volumes on a concrete foundation. One volume houses the living rooms while the other holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room utilizes floor to ceiling windows to achieve an unbroken view of the sea and beach. The bedrooms are on the second story and are more shielded, allowing for a quiet and peaceful place to rest. Casa Spodsbjerg uses a limited number of materials in its design. Concrete is used for the base and internal forms, the floors are a light hardwood, and the ceilings covered with a warm, slatted wood. This home is the perfect beach dwelling. I love how the two forms work with the geography of site to maximize the views of the surroundings. I particularly enjoy the way the materials work together in this structure. The light hardwood floors blend with the exposed concrete and are reminiscent of the sandy shore outside. The slatted wood ceiling warms the space and gives it a more natural feel. What more could one want in a...


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.


The fine jewelry of Poland-based Agata Bieleń is easily recognized by its subtle geometrical lines and lightweight elegance. Encouraged by a friendly conversion with Scott Schumann — the man behind The Sartorialist — convincing her to do in her life what she really loves, she made sure to focus on her very own vision of design: The main inspiration for my work is the straight line. The most basic unit of geometry found in space. With this inspriation in mind, Agata created her latest collection by the name of SNOW QUEEN for pre-spring 2014. The collection is characterized by asymmetrical compositions of nature-like shapes — like twigs, branches and tree stems — while at the same time keeping the unit of a straight line as a basis. I love Agata’s clear vision, her minimalistic approach and the way she manages to always keep a touch of femininity to her delightfully raw designs.


Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.