Squared is an education initiative developed by Google and its new identity has a curious story, because it was developed by the young London-based multidisciplinary designer Jack Morgan, after he published his conceptual redesign on his site, catching the attention of Google. I was fortunate enough to discover Squared when it was first introduced and instantly identified with their vision and way of doing things. However, I had always felt that their branding was severely lacking. It wasn’t congruent with their can-do attitude and innovative teaching methods. So Morgan worked on a full rebranding from concept to reality, producing a modern, minimal and instantly understandable new logo with Google’s design philosophy in mind: simple, abstract and colourful with a geeky undertone. The logo also has various references: the brackets of the old logo, playful hand signs like a frame made by the Squared students when posing for pictures together, and, obviously, the initial “S” of Square.
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Ninebyfour is a minimalist LED ceiling lamp by the Amsterdam based studio Waarmakers. The LED light tubes do not generate any heat during use, allowing the creators to use atypical materials for the fixture: wood and cork. Every year thousands of trees are felled in the Amsterdam area. Usually the city trees disappear from root to branch in a shredder. The wood for the Ninebyfour fixture however comes from these salvaged trees. The former location of the ‘unfortunate’ trees are stamped on the cork. Simply enter the coordinates in Google maps and find out the trees’ origins. A first batch, from the Albert Neuhuysstraat, is now available.
Chris Packer exhibited a series of paintings titled ‘The Planes’ for Factory 49 in February in what’s known as the ‘Office Space'; for the same duration, I exhibited a new project in the ‘Showroom’. The paintings were white canvases with cotton tape arranged geometrically across them; the cotton tape was white on the outside, but coloured on the underside. As a result, the white canvases were illuminated by the reflection of colour from the underside of tape in a very alluring way. In the catalogue available at the gallery, Packer comments: In the present work, the cotton tape acts as ground and curtain, at once carrying and hiding the painting. What struck me most with Packer’s exhibition was the way he utilised a small space with comparatively quite large paintings that were compositionally connected. Speaking of this aspect of his work on his website, Packer writes: Where you might ordinarily create a series which you then cull to make a cohesive offering, this show proceeded from a design based on the shape of the space, then isolated parts of the whole to produce independent ‘easel paintings’. It was a delight to exhibit alongside Packer and I look forward to seeing...
Agnes Martin was a Canadian born, Vancouver raised artist who came to the United States at the age of 20, where she lived for most of her life. Influenced by the vast landscape she grew up surrounded by and by artists such as Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman, her spare, paired down artistic style is often considered a minimalist art. An emphasis in her work was placed upon line, grids, and subtle color but her visual language consisting of these basic geometric shapes retains small flaws, purposefully left by the artist. Closeness is potentially created between the viewer and the artist herself as her imperfect hand becomes a connection of a human touch. Martin’s work then becomes an individual spiritual experience as one can interpret her repetitive, reductive elements on different levels, adding dimensionality based on their own perception. I love Martin’s delicate, nonhierarchical ease she brings into each piece. When you Google her name under images, you are instantly transformed into her fluent world of harmonized scales and rhythms.
Our beloved Japanese design agency Nendo brings us yet another gem: a set of globes called Corona. Rather than the common blue and green, the Corona globes have white oceans and black land masses. Furthermore, the globes show country names, but no borders. The purpose of this simplification was to: …create a new kind of globe that would be more emotional, rather than simply presenting information. I love how the designers reduced the amount of information – even though some African countries seem to be missing…? The globes were designed for Japanese globe manufacturer Watanabe Kyogu.
Japansese designer Kenji Tanaka, president of Small House Design Lab, designed Atago House: a single family residence in Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Japan. Built on just 506 square feet (or 47m2), the house has a very small footprint. However, thanks to the minimalist interior design, the house has a very spacious feel. The walls are covered with intelligent storage facilities, making it easy to keep the living space uncluttered. The best feature in the house must be the long dining table – how bold in such a small space!
A clean townhouse Landskrona, Sweden by Swedish architect firm Elding Oscarson, which is a recently started office run by Johan Oscarson and Jonas Elding. The collective experience is covering both Swedish and international architecture, from museums to private houses, interiors, furniture and product design. They projected in a narrow site sandwiched between very old neighboring buildings. Three thin slabs are projected into the open volume, softly dividing its functions. The continuous interior space is opening up to the street, to an intimate garden, and to the sky. Photography by Åke E:son Lindman.
This lovely packaging concept for Pravda Vodka comes from Samantha Ziino, a student at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She explains: We had to do a project on an existing polish vodka alcohol. Pravda is a Polish vodka which prides itself on purity and fine ingredients. The bottle and box are white and simple, creating an aesthetic purity. A little red is used to distinguish the brand whilst staying true to Polish culture. Vodka bottles are traditionally transparant, to communicate the clarity of the vodka, which is indicative of its quality. This bottle would therefore definitely stand out and attract the desired attention. That’s why we say: My kochamy to butelka wódki!
In the small mining town of Degana in Spain where nothing new has been constructed for more than 25 years, this new building keeps away from the common facades of a mining village with its volumetric angular profile and rich geometry. Architects Nacho Ruiz and Jose Antonio Ruiz Allén Esquiroz from Zon-e Arquitectos have been commissioned to come up with a social housing solution The colours and materials, such as the local slate, keep the building in context.The black facade acts like coal – absorbing almost all light that falls on it.Each of the 15 apartments is different in terms of size and floor plan. This contrasts with the building’s overall uniform appearance. Each room enjoys views over Asturia’s landscape.
The 8.0 chair is made of an ultra strong concrete, which allows the design to be extremely thin. So yes: you can really put all of your weight on the seat. The chair is made using a mold, which the concrete is poured into (pics after the jump), so it exists of just one piece of pure material. How minimalist! It was designed by Omer Arbel, head of the Vancouver-based design practice Omer Arbel Office. Interesting detail: Arbel was recently awarded the commission to design the medals for the 2010 Winter Olympic in Vancouver. Talk about recognition! Photography by Shannon Loewen.
Introducing the Mondrian T, a table lamp by Danish designer Cecilie Manz for Lightyears, a Scandinavian lighting manufacturer. It is obviously inspired by Piet Mondrian‘s beloved horizontal and vertical lines, and will blend in nicely with any 90’s style office interior… The Mondrian T is part of a series, together with floor lamp Mondrian F, pendant Mondrian P, and wall lamp Mondrian W. Pop quiz: who can tell me what the letters T, F, P and W in the product names stand for? First person to reply correctly gets a free Minimalissimo rss-feed ;-)
Donald Judd (1928-1994) was one of the originators of Minimal Art, which it came into being in the 1960s. Minimal Art reacted against the symbolism, spontaneity, and emotional intensity of Abstract Impressionism. Rather than expression, Minimal Art artists sought after objectivity. By removing ‘distractions’ like composition, theme, representation and so on, they wanted to allow the viewer to experience the work as a whole, and in its own respect. Judd’s work is highly geometrical, and many of his works are arrangements of repeated, freestanding objects. Judd used humble and honest materials such as metals, industrial plywood, concrete and color-impregnated plexiglas. His works tends to constrast with their environment, creating an interesting tension. Overall, Judd has led the way for many of his peers, and minimalism as such. Respect!