Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. British minimalist architect John Pawson has designed a ribbon to support the disaster relief effort, following the earthquake and tsunami, earlier this month. Electronic version of the design is available to download for attachment to websites and emails. A donation can be made online. I would like to express my love, respect and admiration to the Japanese population. Stay strong!
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This minimalist lamp is a recent creation of the Japanese studio YOY, who’s work we previously featured. The piece, laconically titled Light, is a modern take on an old concept. It breathes new life into a familiar lampshade idea. Thanks to the cleverly shaped LED fixture, the lamp produces a lampshade-like projection on the wall. I love the humor of this lamp. The poll is shaped like a socket, creating an illusion of the invisible lightbulb. The piece comes in two forms, as a table and floor lamp. It has debuted at the 2014 Milano Salone.
This simple Japanese home may not look like much from the street, but step through its metal facade and everything changes. Cave House, designed by Kento Eto Atelier Architects, features a metal frame that is guarded and impervious on the street side, but open and welcoming in the back of the home. Just inside the structure’s entrance is a narrow garden, lit by a large opening high on the front facade. Sliding walls connect the living room to the garden, creating an indoor-outdoor style environment. These same walls are used in the rear of the home to link the first floor with a backyard meadow. Three bedrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a thin metal staircase. Two of the bedrooms possess a large window overlooking the garden. The third incorporates a mini balcony. My favorite pieces of architecture are those which blend the built and natural environments. Cave House is located in a residential neighborhood, but it showcases the same union with nature as a house built in a forest. This home proves that one does not need a site in the middle of the woods to design a structure with a strong relationship to the outdoors.
Like many homes in busy Japanese cities, House of Hatsugano is designed with a focus on privacy. The site, located in a dense neighborhood in Osaka, provided a challenge for NRM Architects Office. How can one create a private home that still incorporates natural light and outdoor space? The architects respond to this challenge by designing a home with three key elements: an opaque facade, a courtyard, and a roof deck. One of the most stunning features of the structure is the elaborate roof deck. The deck, invisible from the street, circles around the roof, looking down into the courtyard. The roof deck provides much needed open, outdoor space to the small property. The interior of House of Hatsugano is reminiscent of an art gallery. The furnishings are chosen carefully and are clearly the centerpiece of every room. The functional and service areas are tucked away in cabinets that blend with the walls. I love how this home breaks the traditional aesthetic of the neighborhood. The house looks ultra modern and cool paired next to its classic suburban neighbors.
The monolithic architecture of the Ooike House by Matsuyama Architect and Associates creates the living experience around the views. While heavy at first glance, the imposing structure of this residence located in Fukuoka, Japan, is juxtaposed by the sleek slivers of window openings, delicate walls of glass and a skeleton-like staircase. Intersecting planes define the unique, assymetrical volumes of the interiors while the wide spacing of the joint lines of the concrete walls and floor tiles emphasize the scale of the space, making it feel more expansive than it already is. It is a different sort of comfort that I find appealing about this project. The house seems to exude the calm and cleanliness that one seeks in meditation. From the furniture to the fixtures and finishings, the details are kept to an extreme minimal. The spaces are serene and peaceful, making the view of the city and the landscape beyond an integral part of the architecture, making the architecture about rest. Images courtesy of Matsuyama Architect and Associates.
If you find that the Ginan house appears to emerge from the surface of the earth, its because its made of earth: the facade is coated in a layer of gravel. Designed by Keitaro Muto Architects, this Japanese home is composed of two blocks of different size and shape. The blocks are separated on the outside by a small swimming pool, and connected on the inside by metal bridges. One block contains the bedrooms and the other houses the living and dining rooms. From the outside, the structure is mostly opaque, exuding a guarded feeling. On the interior, however, the home is open and airy. The outward sloping walls and high ceilings allow the home to feel much larger than it actually is. The built in furniture and monochromatic color scheme also contribute to lightness of the interior. The unique shape and material of Ginan House forces you to look twice. And there is nothing more pleasing than architecture that draws the viewer in, prompts questions, and leaves us with a lingering fascination. Photography by Apertozero.
Love House has been built by architect Takeshi Hosaka in Yokohama Kanagawa, Japan. The space is quite small, only 38 square meters, just enough for two people. Even though the house is relatively new, there are signs of wear in objects and textures. This combination of old and new makes the building grounded in time, gives it depth and creates a tangible relationship between the house, its inhabitants and nature. Takeshi Hosaka offers a poetic description of this work: I draw the biggest curve on there with width and depth of a building, I distributed a place of a roof and a place of a sky with the curve. And I planned the stairs which went up from the first floor to the second floor with this curve. The main space of the building which these created, it is with the space that it is not inside, and is not the outside. Quiet rain, intense rain, rain with wind… rain creates various sounds. Light of the sun and moonlight play in the Love House, and rain and wind visit Love House, and birds and insects visit a tree and a fruit tree of Love House. We can know that all nature given on...
REN is a beautiful laconic creation of Japanese studio Karimoku New Standard. Inspired by traditional Japanese seating, this chair has a square frame and a low backrest. Designers claim that this shape and the position of the back promote healthy posture. I love how well thought out the piece is. Each part of a wooden frame is assembled using the traditional Japanese woodwork technique tomegata sanmai tsugi, or Triple Tenon. This principle allows to achieve a sturdy construction without the use of toxic adhesives. REN comes in two different frame colours and offers three choices of upholstery – paper yarn, textile and leather.
Nendo’s N Bottle is the perfect vessel for beloved sake label Nakata Hidetoshi. Conceived in 2003, its classic and timeless formality is as befitting and appropriate as ever. The cap is made by spinning aluminum into its tubular form on a lathe with the slightest of dimples set into the surface to aid the pouring process. Japanese and minimal, this piece embodies understated industrial design. The original brief requested a bottle that shields its contents from ultraviolet rays that also would explore a shape not ordinarily used for sake. Formally akin to a stick of charcoal, the resulting container is slick. N Bottle is made with Yamadanishiki and Aiyama rice varieties, making it an extremely high quality sake. The parent collaboration of great product and design, sees birth to N Bottle as a pillar in industrial design and brand alignment. Photography courtesy of Hiroshi Iwasaki.
Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.
Nendo have designed, for their own brand by | n, a new stationery collection. The collection consists of eleven minimalist items: the flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, link clips, rubber bands, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note and the dot envelope. I would like to feature four items that caught my eye: Contrast ruler A minimalist ruler with marking fading from white to black, making the ruler easy to read on dark and light surfaces. Circle tag Normal sticky notes can be easily ripped off. The pie chart shaped notes however will stay in place for a long period of time thanks to an increased sticky surface and reduced number of corners. Link clip The link clips, made of high frictional paper, come connected and are detached one by one for use. Desktops keep tidy and they can be recycled along with the paper. Edge notes The edge notebooks have a colourful edge to help with filling. Filed with the spine outwards the books present a neat appearance, filed with the edges outwards the books are distinguishable by colour. Pages of the books are printed in a light cross pattern to provide enough guidance but less restrictive than lines....
Look carefully or you might miss the tiny Yokaya restaurant and residence in Fukuoka, Japan. This humble white rectangle is nestled on a busy street between several tall condo buildings. Designed by rhythmdesign, the structure is a mere 135 square meters and houses a restaurant on the ground floor with an apartment above. The front facade is entirely opaque on the upper stories, while a cutout on the ground floor invites passerby into the restaurant. Wood and concrete are the main materials used in the interior. In the restaurant, the simple design allows the food to take center stage. The apartment above is arranged with a similar aesthetic: built in storage keeps the space uncluttered and the furnishings are limited to essentials. I love the modest design of this duplex building. The clean lines of the architecture and precise use of materials come together quite elegantly. Yokaya is quiet and reserved, but it is its little form that stands dignified on this bustling street.