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.


An exciting balance between Scandinavian minimalism and slightly melancholic drama: that is what Copenhagen based womenswear designer Vibe Johansson light-handedly fuses in her current summer collection. Maybe it’s due to her growing up in the Hamlet city of Elsinor, or maybe she just perfectly manages to integrate the impressions of her extensive travels into her northern soul. Whatever the cause, Vibe Johansson’s designs radiate a subversive elegance which makes its wearer stand out without being invasive. Questioning beauty and looking for it in dark places, physical as well as mental, is where it all began for me. — The Kinsky Interview I simply love the way this collection combines expressive textures with pure geometric shapes and a soft flow of fabrics. Vibe describes the behavior of her garments as defiant, yet controlled. And I feel like this is an attitude which might nicely mark off onto its wearer. Photography by Emil Monty. Art Direction by Marlo Saalmink. Styling by Vibe Johansson.


South African born fashion designer Alex Koutny already looked back on an extensive career in consulting and working for international luxury brands before he created his namesake label in New York. However, it wasn’t just good experiences that led to this decision. His goal today is to establish a retreat from overly designed and needlessly decorated garments. In addition, he wants his work to be more hands-on, from beginning to end, from creation to production. This results in a back to basics attitude, precisely rendered in beautiful silk pieces, carefully layered and constructed to look flowing but sharp at the same time. The only embellishment is separate jewelry, made of sterling silver in graphic shapes, which subtly shifts the collection in to a rougher, colder direction. As the designer himself claims: Not too much, not too little. It’s a finely tuned sense. — Interview magazine


With her LA based eponymous fashion label, designer Shaina Mote sets a new standard in integrating a regenerative quality and versatility to a strong and distinct style. The new and exciting way she creates minimalist silhouettes with multi purpose details might be a result of her very personal approach towards fashion: I work quite intuitively and I think that for me personally the lack of formal training has allowed me to feel free to experiment to reach a conclusion with each piece. — Need Supply introduction I love the way Shaina Mote adds a hint of playfulness to her staple design. Over time, it lets you discover new ways to wear your favorite garments. It makes every piece even more combinable, while at the same time lifting it above other generic wardrobe basics.


Copenhagen based fashion designer Atifa Rasooli started her line in 2012 with a collection called messenger of stillness. With her latest designs of Spring/Summer 2014, she keeps on delivering that beautiful message: … I didn’t feel the need of being loud with my collections, I wanted to keep them humble. But yet, with that stillness there was still a lot of strength and confidence hidden, and that’s what I have tried to show with my models. — Daily Metal Interview 21.07.2014 To me the current collection not only conveys a mood of serenity, but also a sense of freedom. The ernest color pallet of black and white offers strength and protection. The lightly draped silhouettes, carefully combined with menswear details adds a relaxed attitude. You will always be abled to move around freely in a Atifa Rasooli outfit and at the same time you will always look concisely dressed and elegant.


Berlin based design studio New Tendency is an outstanding interdisciplinary endeavour following a deeply holistic approach towards furniture and accessories. The collection is a mix of original products and collaborations with selected designers. It is united by clear aesthetics and functional form as well as a consistent production strategy: Every product is crafted regionally. Most of our products are modular and/or stackable, therefore enabling efficiency in wrapping, storage, and transport. We also really care about the production of our products. We consider our products carriers of these values and believe that they also transmit these ideas. — (FvF Interview 13.01.2014) I love the conceptual context in which Sebastian Schönheit and Manuel Goller manage to combine super normal design with a very sensual impression. It is a great pleasure to touch and work with objects like the floor lamp December or the side table Meta.


Los Angeles based photographer Nicholas Alan Cope, whose superb book, Whitewash, we featured last year, has again grabbed our attention with another superb photographic series, Vedas. A collaborative project with fellow photographer and designer Dustin Edward Arnold, Vedas — meaning knowledge in Sanskrit — marked their move into fashion imagery through photographing sculptural garments of their own design, and to challenge ideas of what is acceptable against what is possible. In a recent interview with Dezeen, Arnold explains: It was the idea that knowledge is at once both expansive and contractive. For some it shakes foundations, de-stabilises values and opens up the sheer terror of possibility. For others it signifies hope, advancement and discovery. The materials used for this project are flexible, yet manage to hold shape to achieve interesting structures with often blurred, ghostly silhouettes. I like this. We wanted to restrain the palette by focusing entirely on form rather than colour. I will certainly be keeping a watchful eye on this duo’s future collaborations. Fascinating.


Livia Arena is a Melbourne based lawyer-turned-designer who brought her namesake label to life in 2010. Since the very first collection she committed herself to advocating natural fabrics such as silk, linen and wool, while keeping the silhouettes of the outfits straight and compelling in a very smart way. Her design is without frills while the garments are constructed with a great love for detail. And she is very much into knitting, as her statement regarding the AW14 moodboard shows: Lots of washed-out city landscapes and photos from far-away places. A lot of raw materials — a bunch of different mohair curls, felting samples and about a million knit swatches from my hand loom. — via pagesdigital Livia Arena’s latest collection is an amazing touch and feel experience that combines the softness of high quality fabrics with sculptural shapes. I love the invigorating appeal of Livia’s designs, which definitely make all of her clothing aspirants for long-term favorite pieces.


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.