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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I was recently introduced to high-end European menswear brand Enfin Levé and their superbly simple Eorri collection. As opposed to the brands mainline avant-garde aesthetics, Eorri extends the direction by releasing minimalist, simple designs made with the finest fabrics for a comfortable, everyday wear with a unique identity. Handcrafting their clothes in small, local ateliers and manufacturers in Italy, Switzerland and Poland, the seasonless silhouettes of Eorri are easy to wear, with an aim to provide the greatest comfort. Having personally experienced the quality of this Eorri collection, which includes slim fit t-shirts made with soft and thin cotton, elastic waistband pants and shorts, Enfin Levé have successfully produced relaxed, minimalist design with an intriguing style, establishing their identity in the men’s market. Available in various menswear stores in Japan and United States, Enfin Levé also ship internationally. Photography by Mateusz Bral / Model: Olaf Piwowa
M Residence is yet another stunning dwelling by acclaimed architecture firm Shinichi Ogawa & Associates. Completed in 2013 and located in Fukui, Japan, M Residence is a remarkably simple home for two families. One half of the structure houses a young couple and child, while the other is home to the child’s grandmother. Both halves of the home are nearly identical. The interiors feature an open-floor plan. The lack of walls lends a fluidity to the space and cuts out cumbersome square footage. Furniture is limited to only the necessities. Sliding panels are placed along the southern wall of the home, allowing the space easy exposure to the outdoors. Shared spaces include the porch, car park, and garden. M Residence is the perfect solution to living with extended family. Both families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of living so close, yet their divided spaces can easily feel a world apart. That Shinichi Ogawa & Associates were able to achieve this while maintaining the design’s effortless and minimal aesthetic is equally impressive.
The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban created an innovative, minimalist and elegant floor lamp for FontanaArte, named Yumi. In Japanese, Yumi means “bow” and that is exactly what this floor lamp looks like. Delicate, the stem is only 10mm thick, and strong. A clean design and simple shape that blends into a lightweight structure. The slim shape was made possible by the use of LED lights, integrated in the black composite and carbon fibre coated structure. The base is made of black lacquered metal. All wiring is hidden within. I love that. I think a lamp with such a minimalist appearance fits in any environment. Would it fit in your interior? It is said Shigeru Ban is not interested in the newest materials and techniques in designsbut he is definitely innovative and need the newest tools to make his ideas come alive. The fact Ban was the first architect in Japan to construct a building out of paper illustrates his innovative thinking.
International Royal Architecture, or I.R.A., have designed this bright and modern dwelling in a residential neighborhood in Japan. The home is called House of KKZ, a name derived from its proximity to the Kamikitazawa Railway Station in Tokyo. The structure is a straightforward white cube with cut outs for the windows and doors. KKZ is by no means large, only 110 square meters, but the thoughtful design results in a lovely living space for a family. House of KKZ is a spilt level with several loft spaces. The varying levels allow the space to feel large and open despite the building’s small urban footprint. Small, narrow windows are placed close to the ceiling on each level. These windows bring natural light inside while maintaing the residents’ privacy. White walls and light-colored wood contribute to the sunny feel of the interior. Built in furniture and storage keeps the home free of clutter.
Duncan Shotton, a young British designer based in Japan, created this fun and simple timepiece, called Color O’Clock. The all-white disk features a window at its base which slowly shifts through all colors of the spectrum, greens, purples, blues, and everything in between. This changing element allows you to tell the time through hue and tone. I love that the clock itself blends with the wall, only leaving the hands and the colorful window visible. Shotton thinks that this method of reading time is more relaxed and intuitive. The clock base is made of plastic, the hands are made of matt steel. Check out the video to see the piece in action.
Designed for a group of artists to reside, work and exhibit, the architect Jun Murata of Jam Architecture transformed a house in Osaka, Japan, of former wood construction into one of modern simplicity and elegant, minimalist finishes. The spaces were carefully thought out to accommodate the needs of the artists. Public and private are logically separated: the living and dining, as well as the tatami spaces face south where one can assume the intent is so that the residents can enjoy the natural light. On the other hand, the opposite side of the house meant for reading and art installation is designed with more controlled lighting where slivers of light penetrating the interiors, making it an integral part of any art installation. The architect has acknowledged that as carefully designed this minimalist mix-use house is for the artists, plants can give the space a rich contrast. I especially love the fact that the number and type of plants chosen for the space is minimal as well, allowing the harmony of their presence compliment the spaces they are in. Images courtesy of Jun Murata / Jam Architecture.
Thaw sofa is one of the latest works launched by the Japanese design studio Junpei Tamaki Design during this year’s SaloneSatellite in Milan. It is a reference to images of thawed fluffy snow, producing a wonderful feeling of softness and comfort. The curved silhouette of Thaw is accompanied by a rounded oak detail that frames the whole piece — a continuous line to serve the seat, arm and backrest in one, resulting in a great formal simplicity. I particularly like how the wood is integrated so well on this kind of design, achieving a sense of quality and warmth. Photography by Takumi Ota
Tuneful House is a peculiar looking home in a busy residential neighborhood of Shiga, Japan. The home was designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects for unique clients on a tight budget. Every space of Tuneful House has been carefully crafted to represent the personality of its residents while remaining affordable. The exterior of the home is quirky looking, with two horn-like forms protruding at the sides. This distinct aesthetic symbolizes the owner’s unique disposition. The interior spaces of Tuneful House are divided by platforms and a range of materials. This design limits the amount of walls in the structure. The most prominent room in Tuneful House, and the room which gives the home its name, is the music room. The music room is located at the entrance of the home: a prime location for a very important space. The rest of the living spaces are divided among the first and second stories. Tuneful House features neither expensive materials or elaborate details, yet it is a charming home perfectly suited to the personality of its residents.
Katamaku is a new series of products, born out of Tokyo, Japan, that utilise unused parts of the membrane material that were to be discarded. They were made into various cases and bags for everyday use with excellent durability. In order to keep its beautiful texture, the products are made from a single sheet of membrane that can be folded to protect things that are to be carried. The designers go on to explain: Katamaku can be assembled with ease, and in order to take advantage of the beauty of the material, we have designed each product as one piece of folded cloth, like a kimono. If you look at the material closely, you will see that each product is finished from the membrane allowing you to really appreciate the beauty of its detail. The minimalistic series includes a card, pass and pen case, a document folder and pochet. All of which are as exquisite as the next. Beautiful work.
The challenge that an architect has to face when producing a restricted minimalist space is always an interesting one. Materiality and transparency then inform the degree of openness within that perimeter. With such a small site in the ever-shrinking land of Japan, designers Takahashi Maki and Shiokami Daisuke of Takahashi Maki & Associates had created an architecture that helps light penetrate through, while still maintain the privacy and coziness of a residential unit. Located in Saitama Prefecture, White Hut exposes itself through two vertical glass panels that run parallel to each other, giving the outsiders a glimpse of the staircase, the workspace, and the kitchen. While the visual connection is apparent, the boundaries among spatial interior are also blurred to give a sense of freedom; each floor is its own room with no door. The bathroom is placed above other programs to maintain privacy, with light coming from all sides especially the two openings of the slanted roofs, which resembles the traditional housings that already pre-exist. The decision to apply corrugated metal for the exterior delivers a sense of lightness that goes against the usual aesthetic of Japanese designs. I thoroughly enjoy the flow of space within the house because...
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.