Minimalissimo


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The London Design Museum invited cultural commentator and philosopher Alain de Botton to interview John Pawson about his current project Plain Space, previous projects and his minimalist approach to design. And yay, the good people of the Design Museum shared a video of the interview. Two beautiful minds interacting, it doesn’t get any better than this! → Watch the video on Vimeo.


Longing to bring some of the tradition and attitude of Saville Row back to New York, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen named their Fashion Brand THE ROW. Under this simple name they create relaxed and timeless collections with a love for minimalistic silhouettes. Their style very much emphasizes the choice of fine fabrics and carefully constructed fits. Our core business are those pieces that you really want to have accessible to you but you don’t really want to worry about, like a great white button-down. (On Interview) The AW 14 collection is the most minimalist one so far. And as Maria Van Nguyen perfectly stated, it is the best example that a minimalistic approach does not necessarily need to result in crisp and sharp looks, but can be turned into soft and warm designs as well. It’s all about the silhouette and the perfect fit to keep the balance. Images courtesy of style.com


Dutch designers Studio WM have created a series of porcelain pendant lamps that operate on a pulley system inspired by shipyards in Rotterdam. Keeping the available colors solid and the design of whole system minimal and clearly functional, this series has been exhibited in one of many Lightness in Lines presentations by the studio, including the Salone del Mobile of 2012. While I love that it has been inspired by such a utilitarian mechanism, it is the notion that, for once, the pendant lamp’s height can be adjustable so efficiently while looking so elegant and sturdy at the same time that really appeals to me. You can read their interview with Elle Netherlands here and take a peek in their lovely studio.


A simple yet elegant infographics project titled oceaniaeuropeamericasafricaasia by advertising creative Gustavo Sousa embodies more than just the intention of spreading awareness on global issues. It challenges our own knowledge of current affairs and assumptions of design and colors. Using the Olympic symbol of the 5 colored circles aptly in time with the 2012 summer games in London, Gustavo chose to depict current social concerns in a short video while categorizing a color in relation to each of the continents. As he mentioned in an interview: The rings represent healthy competition and union, but we know the world isn’t perfect. Maybe understanding the differences is the first step to try to make things more equal. What was most interesting about the project in addition to its minimalist style of presentation was that there was deliberately no graphics key given to which color represented which continent, which I saw as a test of the viewer’s own personal knowledge of the issues pertaining to each continent and was surprised by which ones I guessed right or wrong. Even though there has been some criticism about the accuracy of the statistics, the actual scale of the circles as it changes with each issue does not...


LaCucinaAlessi by Valcucine and Alessi is a new, one-piece kitchen designed by Dutch architect Wiel Arets, as a single, sculptural object. The piece has minimal lines, rounded edges and corners; none of the joints are visible. As Alberto Alessi explains, the typical features of Wiel Arets’s design approach are firmly in evidence: …the tendency for the parts to be regular, without however being minimalist in a reductive sense, the inclusion of a high level of intellectual complexity, but also tangibility and formal simplicity, enable him to produce extremely refined results. I love how beautiful the kitchen looks from every angle. It can be put in the middle of the room and make a statement. The piece comes in three versions: an island version, an island version with two additional columns, and a wall version, which can be altered and personalised to fit the requirements of supply requests in the contract sector. Watch the interview with Wiel Arets for more insight about the design.


With the theme of natural feminine beauty, the 2012 Pirelli Calendar was unveiled this week in New York. This edition features Mario Sorrenti‘s work (the first italian photographer chosen in the history of the 47-year old italian calendar), who deliberately chose to not portray the models in an ‘obviously’ sexy fashion, as claimed by him in an interview for WWD: Originally I thought I was going to do very sexy pictures, and when we got there I realized that I didn’t want the pictures to be sexy at all. Faithful to this year’s theme, the images are elegant compositions based on a simple formula: the combined textures of the naked skin, framed and enhanced by the natural elements of the Corsica island. Beautifully minimalistic.


In 1960, when he was just 28, Dieter Rams designed the 606 Universal Shelving System for Vitsoe. Their New York store is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary in the form of an exhibition called 60s 606 is 50. In Dwell’s interview with Dieter Rams and Vitsoe’s managing director Mark Adams, Rams described the product by saying: Never forget that a good product should be like a good English butler. They’re there for you when you need them, but in the background at all other times. Besides a few millionaires in London, most of us don’t have butlers. The butlers of today are our products and our furniture.


If minimalism is about exercising restraint, then Raf Simons is one of the best in the business. Just like his recent mens wear line, his minimalist approach to color in the Jil Sander Spring 2011 RTW line is phenomenal. There are so many things to love about this line, but of note I adore the way crisp tailoring is contrasted with the baggy, ‘oversized’ look that Raf is known for in his Raf by Raf Simons line of clothing for men. The way stripes have been employed also give Daniel Buren a run for his money. In a recent interview in Man About Town, Raf Simons states: I know that Jil worked around very little, but it was shocking to go through the archives and see how much her designs had aged. It was no longer modern. I felt the brand needed to be a little more conceptual — to break out. It needed to break its own rules in order to stand any chance in the long run — with or without me.


With their Fall 2010 line, Calvin Klein has appeared once again on our minimalist radar, thanks to CK’s creative director Francisco Costa. In their ad campaign, Calvin Klein introduces Dutch supermodel Lara Stone as their new face. In a recent interview with WWD, Costa explains why: I conceived my fall 2010 collection with a self-aware and assured woman in mind. For me, Lara was the perfect choice [..] because she is a woman who epitomizes confidence and sensuality. I couldn’t agree more: nothing says sexy like confidence paired with minimalism. Photography by Mert & Marcus.


Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka gave us Tear Drop: a glass and aluminum pendant. Isn’t it angelic? Yoshioka started as an apprentice to Shiro Kuramata and to Issey Miyake, but started his own his own design office in 2000. Since then, no less than 9 of his products made it into the MoMa collection. This includes the ToFU lamp and, yes: Tear Drop. Tear Drops are produced by Japanese lighting manufacturer Yamagiwa to be used as pendants, but I’d put this on a table: I just want to hold them!