Minimalissimo


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Stein van Rossem’s London Tower Apartment in Antwerp is a deliberate and beautiful fusion of contrast. Comprised of rarely specified dark-coloured fixtures with a white-based palette, this apartment is sharp. The materiality and clean lines of the form work create clearly defined surfaces, spatial arrangements and flanking architectural moments. Brussels-based and with a completed portfolio of works throughout Europe, the Stein van Rossem studio is one of a consistent and strong minimalist authority. Although their work displays an obvious controlled restraint, there exists a delicateness to the connections and junctions between materials. There exists an almost obsessive thoughtfulness, which is by no means unappreciated. This London Tower Apartment is a beautiful muse for minimalism and pragmatism combining.


In his review of 2009, Michael Johnson revisited these London 2012 Olympic Games concept posters by Alan Clarke. Although the official London 2012 identity, created by Wolff Olins, caused a huge stir on its release (no doubt the desired effect), opinions of the concept are very much polarised; and ever since the unveiling in 2007 there have been notable attempts to offer something more akin to Olt Aicher’s meisterwerk. Clarke’s idea, linking particular Olympic events with nearby tube stations, was enough to scoop ‘best in show’ at last year’s D&AD new blood exhibition. What with the impending ubiquity of the official branding, plastered on everything from cereal boxes to Adidas merchandise, these concepts are a tantalising insight into what could have been.


This small and minimalist timepiece by Korean studio Elevenplus encompasses 24 different timezones in its body. The trick is in the cylinder that allows you to view and switch between geographic locations in a single intuitive motion. Simply rotate the clock to put the desired timezone on top, and you will have the correct time. The designers explain: Let’s say someone living in New York wants to know the time in London. When it is 5:57 pm in New York, you can see that is is 10:57 pm in London if you roll the clock so that London appears on top. See the number on the clock to read the hour and the position of the minute hand to read the minutes. The hands of this world clock move independently from the rest of its body, so they quickly transition to any timezone. The piece comes in three colors: gray, blue and orange. Check out the video to see the clock in action.


This asymmetrical pen by London based studio Beyond Object, employs the intuitive desire of a human mind to align and organize things. The piece is composed of three sections. When not in use, the middle section is dislocated from the rest of the the body. To use it, twist this middle part until it aligns with the lower section. Designers explain: Simplicity, quality, function and innovation have been the central tenets during the design process throughout this project. The mechanism we designed for this pen is completely unique, yet intuitive and reliable. We wanted to transcend the classical twisting or clicking mechanisms by developing this precise and user friendly piece of engineering. The pen comes in two sizes and three finishes. Check out the video to see this design in action.


London based creative Josiah Jones created a compartmentalised tray in order to create the perfect formation for any given meal. The tray has 20 individual magnetised compartments that can be mixed and matched together. Jones initiated this project during his graduation year at Chelsea College of Art & Design. He wanted to investigate the idea that food fuels creativity; including what you eat, where you eat it and how you eat it. Creative professionals were invited for a social ‘work’ lunch and they could choose their ideal lunchtime meals. Lunch in exchange for their time, ideas and advice. Initiate relationships within the design industry. I really like the way you can play with the compartments and section off the different foods. The execution is also very impressive — geometric shaped nylon components and subtle integrated tiny magnets to connect the components with each other. I hope this tray will be taken into production, as I would be very interested in purchasing one.


You might be familiar with London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Gemma Tickle‘s work through their contribution to Printed Pages magazine’s spring 2014 edition, but the pair’s collaborations span many other playful projects. Very informed by a minimalist aesthetic, their collaborations often use graphic, formal arrangements, clean sharp angular lines, plain untextured surfaces, and as with Printed Pages, repeat the same elements again and again as a stylistic device. Continuing my on-going investigation about the process behind minimalistic work, Bruno shares with us that he wouldn’t necessarily describe their process as minimalist — It is often quiet elaborate, with ideas being discussed extensively but it does tend to result in a specific vision prior to shooting.  A lot of the work is pre-visualised with ideas, materials, colours and lighting discussed in advance, although they always leave room for the unexpected, which isn’t surprising considering the joyful nature of their work. Unsurprisingly, their individual portfolios boast several other beautifully simple projects — head over to be further visually delighted!


Bottle Watch is a wonderfully minimalist, analogue wristwatch with raised nodules around its glass perimeter, similar to those found on the bottom of a glass beverage bottle. The watch was designed by London based studio Industrial Facility for Italian accessories company, Nava. The designers explain: We noticed that there are often exactly sixty of these nodules found on a typical beer bottle where the function is to avoid suction between the bottle and a table surface. This observation makes a useful correlation to the units of timekeeping and replicating these nodules creates a strikingly iridescent appearance when light hits its face at different angles. Bottle Watch is available in brown ale, green wine, clear spirit and blue water — colours that follow typical glass bottles. Although these colours don’t overly appeal to me, I do think this is a super concept.


Mathias Hahn as part of London’s Clerkenwell Design Week has introduced the Runcible Collection. Made from solid hard maple, the collection represents a familiar archetype, that is not limited to one specific task and are blanks that stand for a type of application but allow for individual use. Each piece is an implement for use in the home, but the exact functionality is diffused by experimenting with the expected aesthetic and form of such products, leaving them highly interpretive by the user. Hahn is an industrial designer, originally from Germany, and currently working in London where he started up his studio OKAYStudio in 2006. He studied both Industrial Design and Product Design, which has brought him to a body of work involving furniture, lighting and products. He has a natural desire for designing towards use and functionality and introduces me experimental curiosity to his way of working. Through his collaborations, commissioned and individual work, Hahn has remained dedicated to the minimalist principles and themes. The resulting Runcible Collection is testament to his dedication. There is a sophisticated simplicity to the way that he approaches materiality and the production process of remaining true to the materials core beauty. Photography courtesy of...


Adelaide-based collaborative duo Daniel Emma have partnered with Field to bring Magnifier onto the stage. Essentially it is a magnifier, beautifully crafted from brass with a brushed seamless finish. This piece also acts as a handsome paperweight and serious desk accompaniment. Daniel Emma is comprised of Daniel To and Emma Aiston who established their practice in 2008 after graduating in 2007. They studied concurrently in the industrial design discipline in Adelaide. Their work has been shown in Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Berlin and throughout Australia after first showing in London in 2008, early on. Their list of current exhibitions is endless and recognition within the design field also through their design work and installations is commendable. Available through Field, Magnifier is an extension of the duo’s ethos to create the unexpected from simple objects using simple forms. Photography courtesy of Leonhard Hilzensauer.


Private House is a vacation home located in a scenic and secluded part of England known as Cotswolds. Designed by London based architecture firm Found Associates, the house is an extension of an 18th century stone cottage. The structure extends from both ends of the old cottage but doesn’t fully envelope it. This design allows both the cottage and extension to feel like unique volumes living in harmony. Private House also sits harmoniously with the surrounding landscape: the large structure dwells low on the site so as not to block the picturesque vistas of the rolling green hills. The clean, minimal nature of the home lends itself to feeling like an art gallery. However, in the absence of artwork, the house and surrounding landscape are the objects on exhibit. I think minimal homes tend to make the best vacation homes: one can truly relax in a peaceful setting free of distractions. Private House won the RIBA National Award in 2012 and was nominated for the RIBA Manser Medal.


This serene spa and wellness centre has been built by David Chipperfield Architects. It occupies two floors of the historic hotel Cafe Royal in London, and creates a perfect balance between minimalist austerity and the old world elegance that surrounds it. This project is also an ode to some of the most exquisite textures. The spa features two carrara marble hammams, a Finish sauna in solid hemlock with domed ceiling, a stainless steel jacuzzi and solid marble private jacuzzis in the treatment rooms. I love how the idea of luxury has been approached in this design, by focusing on things that truly matter: open space, honest materials and the sense of simplicity and grace.


French born designer and illustrator Thomas Danthony who is currently based in London, has designed N — a 42 page black & white book featuring a collection of graphite and ink drawings. Self-published, N is available in two versions, one of which is a luxury book with a hand made cover. The project was an experimentation by Danthony, differing from his commercial work, which allowed him the freedom to create a simple aesthetic. He explains: My goal was to take a bit of time off the computer to create something by hand, I was looking for a way to keep my commercial style, which is digital and to translate it on paper. To make it possible, it had to be simple, so I only worked with a pencil, a brush and some black ink. I then decided to design a small book to collect the series. I really enjoy the strong and simple compositions throughout. From the concept of the book, to the illustrations themselves, this is a superbly executed self-initiated project. There’s also a short video about N, which is directed by Tom van Schelven.