Corter Leather is a small, one-man operation based in Boston, Massachusetts. Every leather product is 100% hand-made by maker Eric Heins. Whilst browsing the Corter website, I came across several designs, which I think have a minimalist approach to them. Devoid of typical branding and patterns, what stood out for me was the slim and functional Field Notes Sleeve, composed of vegetable tanned leather, which features a loop at the spine for holding your writing utensil. The natural Classic Bifold featuring seven pockets is a slim, no-nonsense wallet, which has been beautifully stitched. Another distinct piece, is the versatile Folded Bifold wallet with two pouches and inner flaps for extra storage. This piece only has one stitched seam and will darken to an attractive carmel with age. I have a lot of respect for this craft and with end results like this, they are so very tempting.
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Accessories have become such an important element in everyday’s fashion. With the constant rush of life, their flexibility also has transformed over time. Having that idea in mind, Paris-based industrial designer Isabelle Bois collaborated with & Other Stories, a womenswear fashion company founded in Sweden, to generate a capsule collection of bags, pouches, and cases. Made from vegetable leather, these products vary in sizes to offer a wide range of usage — from business meetings to casual rendez-vous and formal dinner parties. Being minimal in appearance with natural colors like peach, nude, and black, those factors create a versatility to these accessories when one has many occasions with little time. As a fashion enthusiast, I love the oversized portfolio-like pouches. Others might see them as a bulky addition to an outfit, but I view them as a way to create a character to the wearer. They compose a certain boldness that is not overpowering, but rather both artistic and professional. Photo Courtesy of & Other Stories and Glamour
Desk Pad by the German designer Eric Degenhardt is a wall mounted secretaire with extractable leather pad and storage. Degenhardt tends towards formal lightness – letting the pieces hover, with sleek shapes and clean details and a minimum of different materials. There is a large multi-functional storage space hidden underneath the desktop. A traditional book rest and pen holder are situated on the side and backside. The Desk Pad is available for left of right sided walls, depending on your needs to keep disturbances away and remain focused on your work. Desk Pad is offered in two colours: brick stone and grey-olive. Calm, warm colours that make this furniture piece really stand out without claiming all attention.
Stockholm based design studio People People set about reinventing a classic with their latest project. They wanted to update the robust, albeit heavy and clumsy Kronan bike with a more sleek, light weight and minimalist design, stripped down to its essence. So People People designed a successor in Spiran. A robust construction combined with a sleek, light weight frame and slim racing tires, Spiran has been optimised for the agility and speed needed in a city. The designers also opted for a single speed approach, with a carbon fibre belt instead of a chain, meaning no lubrication or maintenance. In everything from the frame to the leather details, we wanted to use only genuine materials that not only last a long time, but also age with grace. Besides its clean lines and slim form factor, People People’s design also impresses with the integrated bike lock that folds out from the front basket, locking the bike in the front wheel or even around a city lamp post or fence. Simple, clever and robust. I love it.
Protagonist is a new label with slightly less feminine details yet maintains the silhouettes that, one might say, reflect the modern woman of today – of comfort, confidence and style. As the designer Kate Wendelborn, who is behind this line of the new label, reaffirms that the clean, minimalist direction is a lot more work than it looks: I spend a lot of time to make each piece look effortless. Subtleties – of shape, fit and material – allow Protagonist to be worn in either an elevated way or a more casual way. Indeed. I love how she has used the men’s pinstripe in a simplified women’s suiting. Calf leather, silk crepe and sculptural wool are so rich as materials themselves, yet tell another story when designed around the calmness and simplicity within Wendelborn’s collection. This collection was a collaboration with renowned minimalist stylist Vanessa Traina and photographed by Paul Maffi.
Industrial designer Lorenzo Buffa recently launched a Kickstarter for his newest project – the Carpenter Collection. Carpenter is a series of watches that varies in materials that have flexible wooden straps. Yes, you can indeed bend it! Carpenter is a part of a grander brand that Lorenzo himself founded – Analog Watch Co., with the intention of bringing a little bit of nature into daily lives. The collection consists of different types of woods like bamboo and maple with the integration of leather free loops . The contrast between the metal watch hands and the wooden case is beautifully subtle. I’m a sucker for big watches, especially big wooden watches; they are timeless and unique. The design is minimal and efficient. If you are interested, the designer wouldn’t mind a little support. Meanwhile, I will continue fawning over the silverheart and maple design.
Milan based architect and industrial designer Monica Armani, internationally recognised by the precision of geometry, the purity and consistency of her work, designed in 2010 the minimalist, sleek and stunning WGS Stool for Italian furniture brand, Gallotti&Radice. The WGS Stool is designed in bright stainless steel as well as embossed white or grey aluminium, which can be covered by felt, 3D Tex, leather, suede or fabric in a variety of colours and patterns. Measuring 45 x 30 x 45 cm, the low stool is a simple and subtle piece of furniture that would surely compliment any contemporary interior. I really enjoy the thinness of the design, its smooth rounded corners, and the iced 3D Tex finish is particularly beautiful.
Berlin based studio The Medley Institute is found and led by fashion designer Jana Patz. Since 2010 she has developed a constantly growing variety of sculptural but filigree accessories and bags, which she presents at Paris Fashion Week. She finds her inspiration in materials untypical for fashion, such as wood or porcelain. Her main aim is to make these materials correspond to the wearer and the surroundings. That is why – she claims – communication and conversation are the basis for all her work: There will be new ways of reflection and unexpected suggestions for wearable objects, accessories and pieces of jewellery. That is how the design will get to be a stunning single piece in an outfit and there will be a chance of a fusion between body, textile and object. The brand name incorporates these ideas perfectly. Besides the concept, I am very taken by the fundamental clarity and powerful appearance of pieces which are visually very subtle. The latest collection, Fold & Pleat, is a mix of pure and elegant leather bags accompanied by a selection of various accessories shaped by a clear geometric rhythm. A rhythm you can easily tune in to. Photography by Patrick Houi
Pure is a new shoe collection by the French architect, Jean Nouvel for the Italian brand, Ruco Line. The minimalist shoe was unveiled at this year’s Milan Design Week gaining great relevance, and strong opinion. This is Nouvel’s first footwear project as he looked for basic and essential lines to apply to the shoe design, which is a characteristic often seen in his architectural work. The result is an incredibly simplistic shoe with a strong identity. Pure is made up of high-quality calf leather with a rubber sole. The collection is available in a variety of colours, including; black, white, yellow and fuchsia. The shoe also features the abbreviated name of the design at the top along with its style, colour code, and date of production.
Building Block has delivered once again with their AW 2013 collection. Los Angeles sister duo, Kimberly and Nancy Wu, has launched yet another line to add to their seamless and beautifully crafted curation. Their latest offering is again a fusion of handsome leathers and considered disciplined design. Their signature wooden building blocks also make the cut, of course. There exists a particular drawcard in the collection, in the unique form and functionality of the Wooden Sphere Clutch. Its execution and innovation of use are to be commended. In a similar and rightfully considered vein as the rest of the collection, the integration of natural elements, namely wood and leather, are spot on. The clutch includes a seamless magnetic closer and rubber handle with smooth black leather exterior. Measuring 12.5cm in height by 25cm in width, it stands as a statement piece. With the intent of magnifying essentials and editing out excess, Building Block finds continual inspiration in returning to square one. And for this reason, I am happily along for the ride. Photography courtesy of Kimberly and Nancy Wu.
During this week’s London Design Festival, London based design brand Minimalux have announced the launch of a range of new minimalist products. One such announcement was of their natural vegetable tan leather sleeves for the iPad, iPad mini and iPhone. This is the result of a collaborative project with leather goods specialists, MES. Traditional hand skills and saddlery tools are used to make these tough, durable leather sleeves. Each one is hand stitched with strong beeswaxed linen thread, hand burnished and hot stamped with the Minimalux mark. The leather is untreated other than a light coating of mink oil to protect it from moisture, allowing it to age naturally and develop a rich dark golden colour. Admittedly, not the cheapest of accessories, but there’s no denying these are high end, beautiful sleeves.
Danish electronics giant Bang & Olufsen need little introduction. Consistently producing timeless design with high quality materials, B&O have recently released these incredibly beautiful BeoPlay H6 headphones. A pair I have been fortunate enough to test hours on end over the past week. Firstly, the design of the BeoPlay H6 is hugely impressive, striking the right balance of classic and modern design influences, resulting in a simple, elegant, and extremely comfortable pair of headphones. The design itself was conceived by Jakob Wagner, and with a choice of black or natural leather, it is a perfect match for the style-conscious consumer who refuses to compromise quality in sound, design or craftsmanship. The natural, stitched cow leather cover and soft lambskin ear pads, which I am currently using, should age gracefully with use. My favourite design features however, (aside from being the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn) are the detachable audio cable and the ports in both speakers. This not only allows you to decide which side to insert the cable, it also allows you to share your audio with others. For such high-end headphones, there is high expectations for the BeoPlay H6 when it comes to sound quality. Perhaps...