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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GOBLANK is an independent design label established in 2013 by Meerim Kim. A sombre appearance in its all black répertoire, the 2015 Spring Summer collection is partly influenced by Japanese avant-garde designers. Its lithe, feminine forms of bell sleeve tops and cocoon coats; 60s mod and bat-winged dresses; A-line and accordion skirts are all familiar yet the inherent beauty of GOBLANK’s story lies in the details that sit quietly in the folds, layers and silhouettes of the entirely black collection. When asked about her inspiration behind the brand and the collection, the Seoul-based designer shared in a heavy yet beautiful realization of her own mortality upon turning 30 years of age. It is a manifestation of all the emotions Meerim experienced in isolating herself from her feelings: the fear comes from becoming an adult, every process of life and death, the feeling that wants to disappear and the emptiness. Basically my looks are simple, have not much details but they have dark and heavy atmosphere with only a few lines. It’s about a square and the compositions of a square, in some way they comfort me. The idea that minimalism as an expression can be a providence that relieves and reassures through design is what makes this brand and collection so poignant and beautiful.
With a penchant for honest, aesthetic, clean and tactile design, Tokyo based designer Kazushige Miyake is no stranger to Minimalissimo, and towards the end of last year designed an air purifier for Japanese company Muji. Featuring a dual counter fan and 360°dust collection and deodorizing filter, this air purifier quickly removes matter suspended in the air. The outer casing of the product has a cylindrical shape in line with that of the filter. Air is drawn in from around the air purifier and clean air is emitted from the top of the device. Less junk in the air means more oxygen to breathe. The smart cylindrical design, not dissimilar to Apple’s Mac Pro, is sleek, simple and discreet, shying away from the typical bulky and unnatractive purifier appliances. Lovely work. Photography courtesy of Muji and Goichi Kondo.
Masahiko Maruyama who is behind the Japanese label Nude:MM created a delectable menswear Fall Winter 2014 collection. It is a monochromatic collection where architectural influences convolute trendy proportions of sportswear and smart casual in a mix of wool, linen twill and nylon. Exploring with layers and details of hoods, vests, lapels and belts, Maruyama presents a strong story of minimalist appeal and the familiar comfort of well-tailored menswear in his designs. Structured pliable piping at the coat hoods and adjustable slide-buckle cinch belts are some of the details that stand out in this collection made entire in Japan. This is too beautiful a collection to skip even though I discovered this late in the year. Photography by Masaru Tanaka.
After a break of three years from the fashion business, Japanese designers Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko Ode teamed up again to present an intellectual, powerful womenswear collection under the name of HYKE in Autumn 2013. While there is relatively little information to be found about the brand on the western web, the news available is impressive. HYKE produced an amazingly tight fashion video, created a capsule collection for the British luxury brand Mackintosh and will present its adidas originals collaboration in Spring 2015. The current HYKE collection totally wins me over with its serious, no-nonsense attitude, while still playing around with uncommon silhouettes and experimental prints. Nevertheless, the minimalist attitude is quite strong in every outfit. HYKE manages to stay simple and still convey a very peculiar and idiosyncratic approach towards fashion.
Quite often Asian-inspired pharmacies are portrayed as spaces filled with dark wood, cabinets, shelves, and numerous remedies — resulting in a colourful but raucous experience for anyone but the owner. Unsurprisingly, Japanese design office id brings forward a simple and elegant updated embodiment for the Acupuncture & Pharmacy combo at SUMIYOSHIDO. A daring mint green color and clean lines fills Kampo Lounge; thus creating an ample and pleasant space for the staff and clientele. A perfect balance of the staple wall-to-wall to shelves filled with jars of medicine and contemporary touches while maintaining a strong identity as an archetypal pharmacy. On the other side of the shop sits a beautifully lit clinic for acupuncture and moxibustion treatments, making for a fresh and calming ambient for the patients. Updated versions of classic structures is a tricky territory, many times falling into unnecessary deconstructions. id skilfully averted that fate and decided to offer their clients outstanding solutions taking into account heritage and legacy, whilst keeping an eye on the end result: to resignify the experience with respect to old traditions.
Kai — @wk.ai — is a Malaysian born architectural intern, currently working in Tokyo, Japan. Today we speak to Kai and gain an insight into his wonderfully captured Instagram collection, which primarily focuses on minimalism in architecture. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? My collection is about decontextualising architecture and challenges the boundary between buildings and abstraction. Architecture become axiomatic objects in my photos, which turn our attention from judging the structural quality to the appreciation of atmosphere and pure feelings. To me the album is also a dictionary of architectural language that awaits new and broader implementation. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? I spend most of my weekends hunting for architecture and visiting art galleries in Tokyo. It is a very admirable and inspiring city as it is so recognisable and successful in interpreting modern culture with their own dialect, which many cities are still in search of. But my stay in Tokyo triggers my aspiration, as an urbanite, for tranquility; that is why my photos tends to be isolated from its context. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I’ve been travelling around Europe. Taking photographs is a way of...
Located in a residential area of the northwestern part of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, lies a beautifully minimalist white structure. On the first floor is an aesthetic dental clinic White Essence Takashima and on the second floor an aesthetic salon — Salon de M. Following his client’s requirements, designer Ryutaro Matsuura explains: The building can give the neighbourhood a sense of affinity and good impressions as a symbolic object in the town. The interior offers a the space that is enclosed by four buildings into a void area with a top light. It was turned into a comfortable place with natural light. Perforated metal screens are fixed on the outside of the windows of the first floor treatment rooms to set up buffer spaces bridging the inside and outside. This made the cozy treatment spaces with soft daylight and patient privacy. Waiting in a dental surgery has never been so pleasant. We hope that this building will endear itself to the town’s people and be nurtured by them as a new landmark of the town. In this Japanese town, a visit to the dentist will no longer a daunting experience.
I was recently introduced to Taiwan based design studio, Chi and Chi. The studio has a strong minimalist aesthetic, designing everyday objects with content and purpose, and with simple functions in their essential forms. A standout design? This striking Polygon watch. The Polygon watch is a modern and unique timepiece with special geometric features in shape. The elements on the watch are designed with simple geometrical forms consistently and unlike the usual round contours of regular watches. The 24-cut case and dial present the time in a distinctive aesthetic way, which enriches the sense of touch as well as the sense of sight. Featuring a 316L stainless steel case housing a precise Japanese movement and a durable genuine calf-leather strap, the Polygon timepiece is a unisex watch available in three colour combinations — silver/grey, gold/black, and gold/brown. I particularly like the grey. Absolutely beautiful.
The design agency Nendo has created yet another retail space for the Japanese label, Beige. In addition to clothing, this concept store located in Tamagawa Takashimaya was also intended to sell interior goods, hold books for lending, and even turned into a gallery space for events and art exhibitions. Maintaining the brand’s minimalist direction, Nendo cleverly optimizes the already tiny space, zoning it vertically: library on top, clothing in the center and display gallery at the base. A 7.5mm beam installed at 2.05 meters above the floor serves as an attic-like shelf for the library of books, with magnetic bookends that keep them in place. Clothes and bags placed on hangers freely located around the store while low plinths serve as fixtures for display or for customers to step on and reach the clothes and books at the height of the beam. What a simple yet clever detail that takes the customer’s journey over the multiple levels. Its intentionally clean and pure finishes let the products and the activities stand out in the space. The space, though designed for the specific retail needs of the brand, manages to achieve a unique and flexible customer experience in a very simple concept. Photography courtesy of Takumi Ota.
The minimalist Nadia coat stand by Matsuso T is constructed from wooden poles with equall diameter. The coat stand has a neat look in addition to an expansive impression reminiscent of trees. This impression is even stronger when two or more stands are placed right next to each other, creating a little forest. The stand, aswell as the other pieces of the Nadia series, has been developed by focusing on a particular method, known as ‘kumiki’, which uses interlocking construction techniques. Many of the woodworking techniques used by Japanese carpenters originate from Japanse shopwrights. The maritime industry has been a driving force behind the innovation of wood construction for centuries and with the Nadia series the creators wanted to give an affectionate nod towards the wooden vessels of times gone by.
This set of minimal Basket Containers is one of the lastest projects developed by Nendo. The Japanese design studio has collaborated with Kanaami-Tsuji, a Kyoto-based wire netting firm that preserves the craft’s traditions and develops it for contemporary living. Nendo explains the result: The carefully constructed basket, composed of individually hand-bent wires, is supported by its frame, making a slender table useful for placing small objects, and perfect for a tight space like an entryway, bathroom or space between a sofa and the wall. The all black and white containers are available in three heights, rectangular or oval shape, with basket form or flat shape as available options. A notable detail is that the legs are more slender than the eyes of the netting, allowing the tables to be stacked and combined.