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.
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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.
Systems is an exhibition of commissioned poster designs and ‘60s Braun products, presented in a single grid at the Walter Knoll London showroom from 25 Nov – 31 Dec 2013. The exhibition is curated by das programm and produced in association with Braun. An international group of graphic designers respond to the systematicity of Braun Design, each one of them notably minimalist, such as Experimental Jetset, Hey Studio, Ross Gunter, Antonio Carusone, Spin, Tomasz Berezowski, Spin and more. Featured here is Berlin–based studio Neubau‘s series of posters, exploring the concepts of Form, Typography and Colour. Find out more about each poster and the specific concept developed in each design. All the works are available for purchase as a limited edition of A1 prints, individually or as a cased set. I’d love one in my living room!
London based brand Uniform Wares, designers of the beautiful 100 Series wristwatches previously featured on Minimalissimo back in 2010, have recently unveiled their all-new 104 Series. This immaculate and minimalistic collection includes the PVD Black with black rubber, the Satin Bead Blasted with blue rubber, and the Brushed Steel with orange rubber. Each of which is as beautiful as the other. The 104 Series boldly plays with colour blocking and texture, using subtly different colours and contrasting materials on the cases, bezels and other elements including the dials, batons and markers. This new design is a comprehensive update to Uniform Wares’ iconic 100 collection. Instead of the pointed tip being on the hour hand as previously, it now appears on the minute hand, but it begs the question; why have a pointed tip at all? On a whole though, the design of each piece in this series certainly impresses with my preference lying with the black.
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.
Although Fashion Month had run its course through London and to Milan, there’s one collection that still pulls me back to New York: Lacoste. People often disregard its capability, or should I say Felipe Oliveira Baptista‘s capability, in terms of design aesthetics due to the lodged image of the brand’s well-known polo shirts. But it is the understated collections that hold so much of Lacoste’s spirit. Spring Summer 2014 is like a ballad to its preceding Fall Winter 2013. Structures were broken down into flows with crisp contours covering hem lines in the first few looks. Those lines then widen as the collection progresses, becoming strips of sheer that reveals the skin underneath. Eventually, at the end of the collection, the garments become completely translucent. By engulfing the whole body and showing it to the audience, in a way, it’s showing the most important element of sportswear: the body. Needless to say, Lacoste Spring Summer 2014 is one of my favorite collections so far. It’s poised, simple, clean, and wearable. And by that, it’s asking the consumers to re-evaluate the brand for its designs, and not its popular image. Photos Courtesy of Style.com
I was recently introduced to the small, independent bicycle company, tokyobike, founded in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Yanaka. The name was derived from the design of the bikes. Much like how the mountain bike was designed for the mountains, the tokyobike was designed for Tokyo. Based on the concept of ‘Tokyo Slow’ the bikes are designed to be light to ride with an emphasis on comfort over speed. The bike is simply a way to enjoy your city, as much about the journey as the destination. There are four types available in the tokyobike range; CS, Bisou, Single Speed, and Sport – all of which have a stunning minimal design in a wide variety of colours. From the simple Cro-Mo Steel frames, to the comfortable seats and handlebars, this is everything I want in a city bike. I am particularly tempted by the black SS and the all black Sport. There are international stores in London, Berlin, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
Cereal Magazine and Protein have recently launched Forest, a project to collect and curate woodland photography from around the world, creating a gallery of imagery filled with serene textures, moods and light. Both parties invited their readers to submit photos with a forest theme to be considered for inclusion in an exhibition that will take place at the end of September 2013 at 18 Hewett Street, Protein’s London Gallery space. The chosen images will be published as a photo essay in Cereal Volume 4, and prints of the final photography will be sold on the night of the event, with all proceeds being donated to the International Tree Foundation.
Sackler Crossing is another wonderfull project by John Pawson, the minimalist architect who has been featured a number of times here on Minimalissimo recently. Located in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in southwest London, it was developed as part of a new route and won the RIBA National Award in 2008. Pawson writes: Set low to the surface of the lake, its serpentine form seems to float across the water, allowing people to experience the surrounding landscape from new vantage points. The walkway is fabricated in only two visible materials, each chosen for their hardwearing qualities. The deck is formed of granite treads, laid like railway sleepers between bronze uprights that serve as a balustrade. There is not much more to add, as this just a great example of simplicity and elegance.
This chic laconic bag has been created by London based designer Katharina Eisenkoeck. The piece is crafted from high quality leather and intended for your laptop and not much else. Here is how designer explains her vision: It is hard to find well-made, simple, and non-fussy bags without the usual extra pockets and gold or silver additions. Hence the laptop bag was designed against the movement toward excessive decoration. The challenge of determining the simplest solution possible was playing a major role in this project. It was crucial to create a minimalist and functional shell through sharp lines, a subtle colour, and smart proportions. I love the versatility of the piece – you can use it as a backpack or a tote. The shade and thinness of the bag resembles a simple manila folder, which adds to its understated beauty.
Originally intended for exhibition in Milan in 2010, Minimalux has produced the ideal minimal culinary accompaniment. Commissioned by Wallpaper for their Handmade exhibition, these pieces are characteristic of the London-based Minimalux label with their dedication to the minimalism discipline. The crisp and uninterrupted lines of the Knife & Spork are a celebration of stainless steel. Mirror-polished and completely flat and linear in profile they display an obvious harmony and formal symmetry. Ignoring ergonomics, these pieces seem to play with the conventions of industrial design and challenge the user to engage in a changed eating experience. Too often is this challenge posed. Less emphasis therefore on the food than on the way in which the food itself is to be consumed. I like this. Measuring 150 x 15 x 30mm in size, the Knife & Spork are a true gem. Minimalux is an online portal for their designs and collaborations with various designers. I urge those excited by these forms to check out the rest of their collection online.
Devon-born and London-based fashion designer Charlie May (of the blog Girl a la Mode fame) launched her Autumn/Winter ’13 collection in the beginning of the year, giving continuity to her signature minimalist, androgynous style. The collection plays with solid, pure colors and instances of sheer transparency, gravitating stoically from pure white to pure oxblood, going through blacks and grays. In counterpart to the contained color palette, May plays with layering and materials, adding texture and depth to her pieces. The collection is bold and equally ethereal, two interesting contrasting sentiments. The collection’s styling and makeup, achieved with the strong red lip look, add an impeccable finish to the whole. I’m quite enamored with the featured long white dress myself!