Minimalissimo


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In 1966, Robert Smithson created a series of works called Alogon. The second piece in the series was exhibited at the seminal exhibition of minimalist work called Primary Structures in 1966. This piece is currently in the Museum of Modern Art collection. Of the work, Oxford University Press says: [E]ach [work is] composed of a number of step structures arranged in order of decreasing size, conveying Smithson’s belief in the illogical and absurd nature of existence. Though each of the parts is static, their dynamic arrangement introduces tension into the work as a whole. I hadn’t seen this work until recently, but find it interesting to look at in comparison to his bigger land-art works, such as Spiral Jetty.


We recently caught up with Håndværk to discuss the brand, its designs, fabrics, and future. Describe your path to creating the brand, Håndværk. We felt there was a void in the market for a label that was solely dedicated to high-end essentials — crafting each piece from the finest fabrics, and focused on the details as the foundation to function. From the start, the ultimate goal was to create a label that we would love as customers, something that would make us proud. Our passion for fine fabrics was the main force driving Håndværk’s creation. Håndværk is an interesting & unusual brand name. Can you explain why you choose it? It is a Danish word that stands for artisanal, a trade, or handy-work. We felt it represents the soul of the label. At the core, we want to highlight that pride achieved by the craftsman with his honest work. We want to convey that making quality garments is a humble and tedious endeavour, miles away from the hype of the fashion world. We have always been huge fans of Danish design, specifically mid-century modern furniture — with the focus on simplicity, honest materials and function. These values influence how we go...


The brand and innovation firm Wolff Olins has developed this beautifully simple project for Infotech Enterprises, an Indian firm specialised in engineering and data services. Seeking a strategic change, the new brand Cyient was created to generate new customers, talent and even acquisitions, starting a new chapter after two decades. The new identity for Cyient is incredibly simple in its design, with a customised “E” with a dot for the logo and for the communication — a characteristic that will always make the brand identifiable, even without using the logo. Furthermore, this dot will be ever present and will reinforce all the visual elements of the brand — framing texts, images, graphics or videos. A simple yet powerful concept. You can also watch a video presentation of the brand.


I was recently introduced to the New Zealand fashion brand, I Love Ugly — specifically their simple, stylish and sublime Samuel Watches Series. The Samuel Watch Series features a simplified design for a timeless touch. The minimal design provides an everyday wear and features a silicon strap for something different, laser engraved logo, hardened glass face and a quality finish. Available in black, grey and mint colours, this affordable series brilliantly captures the essence of a wrist watch with its clean, readable dial, thin time indicators and simplified brand mark. The minimalistic packaging must also be recognised as an example of beautiful design in itself.


Hai Lien is a make up artist currently based in China, where she runs a make up academy. Her work covers skin care and colour make up and in order to initiate the wide market in the region into the true beauty of make up in a more effective manner as well as hand down her secret method, she has decided to launch her own cosmetics range in China — Hai Lien CC Cream. The design of the branding and packaging of Hai Lien’s new cosmetics line is by minimalist, a boutique design studio based in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea. Their philosophy in design is one I am certainly familiar with and one that most certainly applies to Hai Lien’s branding: We believe good designs can be achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. For this project, the designer’s explain some design characteristics: The distinctive staircase patterns are the motive of Hai Lien’s professionalism, and the classy black and white colour scheme will differentiate the range from showy colour scheme of its competitors on the shelf. From the minimalist aesthetic of the bottle, the type design of the logo, to...


SIMON&ME is located in a small store, founded by Simon Freund, in Kreuzberg, Berlin where they sell selected menswear and hand picked selected goods. One of their goods is this beautifully minimalist copper bracelet. Produced in Munich by a blacksmith, the bracelet has an understated elegance. It is void of any logo, embellishment or detailing other than formed during the forging process. Over time the shine will fade giving the bracelet its unique color. We believe that there is nothing greater than the satisfaction of possessing a cherished piece that simply lasts; and knowing that the product you are holding is made from craftsmanship and passion. Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit SIMON&ME in their store and have a look at the products. The bracelet is a simple, beautiful, jewellery piece that will last for years and will endure seasonal trends. A perfect gift for someone special.


San Francisco based audio accessories brand Native Union, strive to bring communication back to how it should be: simple and enjoyable. With this in mind, they have designed the award winning Switch – a compact, lightweight, and portable Bluetooth speaker. It pairs to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with wireless ease, letting you listen to all your audio with unmatched sound and quality. The name Switch derives from its ability to play audio effectively in both a vertical and horizontal position. Aside from its sound quality, it’s the beautifully minimalist box design that has me particularly impressed. The speaker’s rubber exterior encases all sides of the box except the metal speaker screen. The exterior also features the Native Union logo, which unfortunately is its only aesthetic flaw. I would have preferred a more subtle (same colour) engraving. However, an intuitive volume wheel inspired by hi-fi audio systems is convenient to use, regardless of the speaker’s position. Switch comes in a variety of colours and is available on both the Native Union and the Apple stores. Images courtesy of Apple.


Last week, we featured a stunning collection of leather bags by TSATSAS, and I have recently been introduced to another of equal beauty – this time by the Polish clothing accessories brand Slava Varsovia. Slava Varsovia aim to highlight the significance of traditional craftsmanship. Hand-made by local artisans, Slava accessories are designed with passion that rises from a tradition with a modern edge, down to the tiniest detail. Designed by Anna Szydlowska, the Slava accessories features a number of beautifully crafted leather bags, designed with a notable simplicity and very subtle brand logo. The series includes several meticulously crafted shoulder and oversized bags, totes and elegant clutch bags of varying sizes and colours. Photography by Zuza Krajewska


There have been many exercises in paring down the wallet to the ultimate minimalistic design, but I believe London-based Taiwanese designer Chieh Ting Huang has arrived at that ideal quite successfully. Nothing Fancy is a collection of non-stitched minimalist solutions for the wallet, re-imagined for the contemporary lifestyle. Using only a foldable leather hide template and rubber bands and eliminating everything else (stitches, snaps, zippers, etc.), Chieh delivers a wallet, a coin case, an iPhone holder and a passport holder within the same principles. The result is a well thought, beautifully executed and impeccably styled range of products that has left the design blogosphere wishing for one of their own. My personal favorite is the passport holder and I’m especially in love with the customized rubber bands!


Milan based Italian designer Henry Timi has built some incredible minimalist furniture over recent years, designing simple and pure shapes, refusing excess and the unnecessary. I would like to share with you today a small selection of seating furniture that reflects these qualities, but many more can be found on the Henry Timi website. Timi explains his design philosophy: I summarise and I develop objects with a minimalist vision. I just think of pure products – purity as the beauty. I promote the simplicity as the depth and the refinement to give value to objects and persons. I make things simpler in order to be better. These pieces may not exude comfort exactly, but what I do appreciate is their quiet elegance, clean lines and detail.


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Manifiesto Futura, an independent multidisciplinary design studio based in Monterrey, Mexico, have recently added to their impressive design portfolio with this minimalist identity and packaging for the tequila based alcoholic drink, Tiqo. Tiqo is apparently a drink for a quiet moonlit night gathering at the beach, which is echoed by the circular forms in the sleek geometric logotype. Even with the stark colour palette of the bottle, it still has a strong presence and would unlikely go unnoticed on a supermarket shelf. It’s always refreshing to see such design simplicity in alcohol packaging.