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.
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The Budnitz No.1 by Budnitz Bicycles is a stunning urban bicycle designed to last a lifetime. The model No.1 has a titanium cantilever frame engineered to absorb road shock while providing lateral stiffness for power and speed. I love the gentle curves! It gives the bicycle a classic appearance. The geometry makes the bicycle a relatively upright cycling position, which is ideal for navigating traffic during the high speed morning commute. Not only are the frame and fork comprised of titanium; also the seatpost, stem and handlebars are made of this high value material. Paul Budnitz, founder of Budnitz Bicycles, not only prefers this metal for its light weight and durability, but also because of its unique ride characteristics and renewable aesthetic. The carbon, maintenance-free, belt drive ensures a smooth, quieter, cycling experience. Budnitz — artist, designer, author, filmmaker & serial entrepreneur — wanted a bicycle that was fun to ride, elegant and timeless. Because he was not able to find a bicycle that matched his requirements, he decided to build his own. He even started a whole company to sell his vision of a perfect bicycle to others.
Situated in the district of Mompiano in the north part of the Italian city of Brescia, this beautiful swimming centre is characterised as urban architecture, open to a specific relationship with the surroundings. The aim of the architects — Camillo Botticini, Francesco Craca, Arianna Foresti, Studio Montanari and Nicola Martinoli — was to design something different from the classic sports building seen as a ubiquitous object. The architectural theme is expressed by treating the compact block of the brown Clinker through a sequence of excavated fronts, that change its character in relation to the interior spaces and the different conditions of external reference. The distribution organises three functional parts: a large main room with a pool for water polo, a nucleus of changing rooms on three levels and a room with two small pools for courses. The main room has a large window facing the north outside lawn and to the east side it opens towards a patio with beautiful bamboo’s plants. I love when good design is applied to the spaces for public use. The people of Brescia can swim in a beautifully minimalist environment. Photography by Niccolò Galeazzi.
Cologne based design studio Kaschkasch created a slim wallmounted, foldable desk named Fju. Folded down you have a small workspace with a smooth writing surface. When you are done you just place your belongings in the storage pockets under the desk and fold up. Now the storage pockets are revealed and the desk has transformed into a shelf. Within seconds you create some extra space when needed. Fju consists of two main components: a steel bracket, mounted to the wall, and the wooden body made of 8mm thick veneered oak plywood. Fju comes naturally finished or dyed with charcoal. Like Fju the products of design studio Kaschkasch, founded Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider, are characterized by precise lines and geometric shapes.
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.
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.
Hamburg-based label Nebel has created a label that is principled on a versatile and minimalist style for both men and women. Founded by Daniel Bartels and his girlfriend Hanna Lundvall, the idea of the brand is to possess the appeal to both sexes, a style that is unisex, neutral and timeless, one that can be shared in a relationship. Buy less, Share well as their motto goes, the result is a palette that identifies as an urban, avant-garde aesthetic as the pieces take on a different characteristic when worn by the different sexes. Large pullovers can transform more femininely as tunics; layers are draped and folded in various ways because of the differing physical proportions of the sexes, yet they are neutral enough to allow the wearer to express their individuality within the blurred lines of this unisex style. Like its name which means fog in German, Nebel has undefined the need specificity and achieved versatility as a style.
Enthusiastically handcrafted in southern Germany, VOR‘s A1 Reinweiß shoes are the epitome of the company’s timeless, minimalist ethos – going through incredible effort to eliminate details and be identified more by its refined appearance than any impactful presentation. Passionate about perfectionism, premium substance and the finest possible execution, VOR believe that handcrafted items are an expression of the modern consumer’s demands regarding a product’s origins and are solely made of best genuine full grain leathers and premium leather linings, proudly creating pieces that are unique and have their own individual characteristics and natural beauty.
An identity, stationery and promotional materials design for the architectural photographer Luka Žanić, realised by Studio8585 — a Croatian design studio which provides simple and elegant brand solutions. The project takes advantage of a typographically challenging set of characters in the form of a monogram, cleverly framing Luka Žanić’s beautiful photography within the context of cues associated with modern architectural identities. The logotype is based on a monogram in which a characteristic and potentially awkward second initial “Ž” is used as a device which brings the two initials together, juxtaposing them through a diacritic. The designers make use of simple forms to create a bold monogram, producing a sculptural quality in its asymmetry and vertical balance. Outstanding.
A courtyard house located in a rural landscape near Guadalajara City, Mexico — Pino Street House is built for a small family with a lot of friends. A clean white façade is defined by bright yellow paintwork used to feature railings, guttering and doorways of this 165-square-metre house made up of a series of stacked white blocks, with glazed living spaces facing the brick patio. Architect Oscar Gutiérrez explains: The house is divided by a courtyard designed to create parallel paths between social and family life, while also creating a feeling of amplitude. The ground floor is characterized by platforms that rotate around the yard and have different uses and atmospheres. The upper level features three blocks that open onto the landscape: two rooms are articulated by a corridor and staircase, a terrace and balcony that establishes a relationship between the garden and courtyard, in conjunction create a linear sequence of open spaces. With my love of the countryside and the color yellow, this beautifully minimalistic building has quickly captured my attention to the light and touch of traditional elements. Photography by Vanessa Guízar.
Founded in 2008 by Ben Gorham, Byredo is a Stockholm based fragrance house, that features a wide range of products for men and women, including perfume, body care, home fragrances and accessories. With a distinct focus on craftsmanship and quality, it is particularly Byredo’s beautiful and understated packaging design that leaves a lasting impression on me. The art direction, identity and packaging was conceived by Swedish designer Moses Voigt of Acne Art Department. The project included a customised identity typeface for labels — creating an image of heritage; characters based on modernist principles and the characteristics of 1900’s gothics. Modern yet timeless through its simple elegance. From the simple typography to the minimalistic labelling, I’m certainly sold and will soon be picking out a cologne to sample.
Normann Copenhagen’s Bell Lamp is a luminous nod to industrial design. Available in four sizes and two color combinations, the lamp is both a sculpturally beautiful and functionally present piece. At the core of its design, is its simplicity. Made from aluminium and hanging from a 4m textile cord, the Bell Lamp is encompassing of the designer’s passion, to challenge the conventional design rules. Designers Andreas Lund and Jacob Rudbeck believe their designs should be based on passing on the Scandinavian design tradition and create everyday objects that have personality without being loud. A statement that speaks worlds. Based in Copenhagen, the duo are responsible for envisioning carefully articulated designs that add character and emphasize quality and stripped back minimalist thinking. The Bell Lamp is testament to that. Photography courtesy of Normann Copenhagen.