As fine and smooth as egg shells, these bone china bowls and tea lights from British designer Caroline Swift are paper thin, beautifully translucent, yet incredibly strong. Each piece is unashamedly unique in shape and form, as they are all hand-crafted by Swift herself. All the items for sale reflect her philosophy of ‘slow design‘, where a sense of pleasure and pride is taken in the production and the quality of the pieces. Swift recently moved to Barcelona – I’m eager to see how her new environment will inspire her!
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Singapore-based Foreign Policy Design Group are in charge of this beautifully simple branding and wayfinding design for the Steven Holl-designed Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, China. What I love about this project is that the graphic design draws its power basically from language. Oriental characters are typically very visual and graphic in nature, and the composition of Chinese and English create an elegant balance that stands strong on its own. The use of black to accentuate the branding material is also very elegant. What a lesson in simplicity.
I instantly fell in love with Yi Fang Wan’s new collection for Fall/Winter 2012/13 presented in London’s Fashion Week. A very promising young designer, from southern China who recently graduated from the Central Staint Martin’s College of Art and Design and was awarded the L’Oréal Professionel Young Designer Award at the college’s BA Fashion degree in 2010. College’s graduates also include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney and Hussein Chalayan. Simple, elegant lines and high quality materials manage to create beautifully feminine and elongated silhouettes. I love the combination of blue and grey and the multiple layers of her clothing. Not to mention the oversized wooden pieces that give an architectural and theatrical dimension to the catwalk version of the collection. A great proposal for a contemporary style with all time classic elements.
Last year my friend went to see the premiere of Sutra, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at Sadlers Wells in London. The collaboration with Shaolin monks from China, Polish composer Szymon Brzóska and Anthony Gormley turned out to be an intense performance. The stage uses just large wooden boxes and shaolin monks, to tell ellaborate stories symbolizing roads, walls, boats, cities and temples from these minimal elements. I hope they will do more performances in the future. See the video on YouTube.
Having just moved to Beijing last year, this really explains much of my experiences here with a minimalist approach. Yang Liu was born in China, studied in Germany. With this duality of traditions, Liu portrays the hilarious stereotypes, which I’m sure many of us can relate to. No prizes for guessing which is Germany and which is China.
This is House W, located somewhere in China. Just two open boxes and a stair case connecting them. And don’t you just love that tiny little tree in the back? House W was designed by Hong Kong based Fuquan Junze, who’s a furniture, interior and industrial designer. Junze started his own firm, Oil Monkey, back in 2007. Interesting little fact about this Junze is that he never had any formal training. Before entering the design profession, he worked as a mechanical engineer, administrative manager and even school coach… Amazing.
A while ago, there was some global competition, and the prize was supposedly ‘the best job in the world‘: island caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef. And although I am very happy for the guy who won the prize, I’m afraid that someone else has the real best job in the world: Iwan Baan. Baan is the photographer of the starchitects: Rem Koolhaas, SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, and many more. The Dutch photographer is sent around the world to shoot their latest works, such as the CCTV tower in Beijing, and the Bird’s Nest olympic stadium in Beijing. So what makes Baan’s work so special? In a recent NY Times article I read the following, which I think says it well: Mr. Baan’s work, while still showing architecture in flattering lights and from carefully chosen angles, does away with the old feeling of chilly perfection. In its place he offers untidiness, of the kind that comes from real people moving though buildings and real cities massing around them. For Minimalissimo I have selected a few photos of Baan’s extensive portfolio, but make sure you check out Baan’s website for more architectural goodness.
This beautiful bone china coffee cup was designed by Hannah Morrow, an English designer living in LA. The bone china is super thin – almost see-through. The cup is part of her Hedy collection, which consists of just three items: a coffee cup, a small vase, and a medium-sized bowl. Morrow herself calls the collection: [...] a celebration of the ceramic tradition of handmade fine bone china. It brings a beauty to each piece that is deceptively simple.