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.
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.
London based fashion label 1205 was founded in 2011 by designer Paula Gerbase. She combines her training at Central Saint Martins College — famous for its unconventional approaches towards fashion — and 5 years of experience as a head of design on London’s Savile Row — well known for its history of bespoke tailoring. All those influences can be easily detected in her razor sharp design, focusing on timeless and utilitarian clothing. While the concept of her contemporary design is crystal clear, she hints at the unpretentious habits of a craftsman in her choice of brand name: I wanted it to be about the clothes, not my name in lights. 1205 is just the day I was born, but more importantly, it’s four numbers that you can read in any language — you’re not wearing a person’s name on your back. I love the unisex touch of 1205’s current collection, evoked by a mix of sporty elements and classic but simple silhouettes, which represent the traditional craftsmanship so distinctive in Paula Gerbase’s work. She finds the perfect balance between masculinity and femininity. For both womenswear and menswear.
A rugged house in a rugged environment, House at Camusdarach Sands is uniquely shaped to maximize the views of the sunrise and sunset. Designed by London based Raw Architecture Workshop, this home takes advantage of its picturesque location in Scotland by orienting towards the east and west horizons. The three story home is composed of a dark timber facade atop an exposed concrete base. The interior features bright white walls accented with light wood. The main living spaces are placed on the uppermost floor, so as to take full advantage of the spectacular views. The more private and less used spaces are located on the lower two levels. I love the unique form of this home. The angled structure is a wonderful design technique. House at Camusdarach Sands takes advantage of its full environment, from the ground to the sky. Photography by David Barbour.
UK practice John Morgan Studio recently undertook the redesign of the prestigious London publication ArtReview, art directing and developing the design of each issue and special editions since September 2013 in an elegant, clean fashion. For the Future Greats issue, an annual special edition that that declares the artists to watch out for over the coming year, Morgan commissioned these whited-out portraits by photographers Luke and Nik, creating an experimental and disquieting set of covers that immediately catch the eye.
This residence on an irregular site located in Islington, London is designed by Atelier ChanChan. The complete demolition of the previous building allowed the designer to instill her own design language into the facade of the house, a Herringbone brick pattern. Brick, being the material that is familiar to the context yet in a pattern that is seldom used on the exteriors. The warmth from the materials used both inside and out of this house exudes the comfort in its minimalism. The stunning detail of the floating staircase brings much light through the interiors; the sliding doors that provide a frameless opening to the courtyard; the walls in the bedroom that extends to the pitch of the roof – the architecture connects the spaces in an elegant and subtle manner that exemplifies understated, minimalist design. Photos via Atelier ChanChan and Dezeen.
London based designer Benjamin Hubert in collaboration with Canadian woodworking firm Corelam created this beautiful table, called Ripple. Made entirely from 3 ply 0.8mm birch aircraft plywood, Ripple is quite possibly the world’s lightest timber table of its size. The piece is 2.5 metres long, 1 metre wide, and weighs just 9 kilograms. The impressive strength to weight ratio is achieved by corrugating plywood and using it as a main material in this project. Designer explains: Ripple is minimal in its design language, employing a simple knockdown construction. The top surface is corrugated plywood overlaid by a flat sheet, and the A-frame legs are a sandwich construction of two corrugated plywood layers. There is also an eco-friendly aspect to this design. Thanks to its clever construction, Ripple takes 70-80% less material than a standard timber table. Check out the video to see the making of the piece.
Designer Tom Dixon has collaborated with Adidas to produce an innovative collection known as The Capsule which consists of both apparel and accessories that are multifunctional, utilitarian and modern all at once. Recently featured at Pitti Uomo in Florence and London Design Festival, this project spawn from Dixon’s one experience of having to sleep on a park bench when he could not get a hotel one night in Milan. The idea of having the basic necessities that were transformable to climate and condition inspired this survival kit – being prepared for the unexpected. And what a sharp, smart looking kit it is. With its focus around two pieces of luggage – one hard and one soft, their multiple compartments hold the basic collection of minimal and utilitarian outfits of reversible tops, adjustable pants and customizable shirts where you can cut the hemlines to the desired length. Padded parkas can be turned into sleeping bags, separates that can be assembled by buttons into a one-piece suit, and shoes that come in two parts for ease of storage can be put together by PVC stitch tape. I love that the thought process that went into the function of each piece, and yet remains stylish....
Rachel Keeley – @haussmith – is a London based mid-century and Scandinavian modern enthusiast currently working on putting together her own mid-century furniture and home décor collection, which she is looking to launch in the new year. Today however, we gain an insight into Rachel’s superbly captured Instagram that I am sure will inspire many of our readers. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? I’m very much “a place for everything and everything in its place” type of person. I take solace from the neat and orderly and appreciate the sense of calm that can emanate from a clutter-free space. I try to ensure these philosophies and elements are evident in my photos. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? With two young children, my home is never as clean and tidy as I would like – indeed, when it comes to the small people I frequently have to shelve my “a place for everything and everything in its place” mentality! So attempting to create a sense of order among the chaos of toys and related paraphernalia can be extremely therapeutic and help spark my creativity. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I’m...