Minimalissimo


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I have long been a reader of Thisispaper Magazine, and when in late 2012 they decided to expand to the analogue world, selling a range of stunning and simplistic products, I for one, was thrilled to explore the designs. Initially launching a series of bags and rucksacks, Thisispaper Shop also recently introduced a beautiful range of kitchenware. It is however, one of their bag designs that I find to be something our Minimalissimo readers will appreciate most. The Natural Irma Bag is incredibly basic with a light linen material. Measuring 25 x 42cm, the bottom is made of nubuck leather. Other leather elements are made of vegetable-tanned natural leather. The lining is 100% cotton and features two small interior pockets and a thick cotton string. Beauty, we believe, lies in the simple objects we use everyday, without even acknowledging it.


Cement as a material for a luxury residence. The young Mexican architect Abraham Cherem of Cherem Arquitectos, recently completed the design of a residence on the outskirts of Mexico City. House P was built for a well-known football player, Aarón Padilla and his family of four, who wanted a concrete home that blended well with its surroundings. The project is based on the study of the house views and the circulation of the light inside. The architect created two large blocks of cement, creating a complex set of rectangles and curved walls. The goal was to minimize the view on degraded suburbs of the metropolis, focusing on the vast central patio. Inside, the walls are designed as cement curtains, which regulate the spaces and the entrance of light at different times of the day. Cherem Arquitectos used elements of modern Mexican architecture to design the courtyard, but were also inspired by the traditional Mexican patio, which creates a space to reunite elements in the centre of the house. I love cement houses integrated in natural surroundings. House P is the perfect place to live with a golf course as good neighbour.


Czech duo Vrtiska Zak introduces their interpretation of minimal children’s toys, in the shape of their WOO Collection. The series represents transportation, on a very basic level, which is manifested in the resulting minimal forms. The simplicity of the materiality and its composition is both beautiful and streamlined for ease of use also. Made from bent veneer and varnished wood, there is an emphasis on symbolizing three natural elements (water — the sailboat, air — the airplane and ground — the bulldozer). WOO itself is intended to represent an injection of motion, interjection of amazement while also being a nod to the wood that comprises the pieces also. Vrtiska Zak is the combined brainchild of Roman Vrtiska and Vladimir Zak, who met during their studies and later formed a partnership during their internships at Alvar Alto University in Helsinki, Finland. Their work is an encompassment of product design, architecture and graphic design disciplines. With resulting forms such as WOO, they are a solid contender in the design realm. Photography courtesy of Vrtiska Zak.


Based in Portland, Oregon and hailing from Los Angeles, designer T Ngu has recently released three new collections within her lovely and elegant Upper Metal Class jewellery line: Arc, Grace and Wave. Boasting a  minimalist style with a hint of light hearted fun, each hand-crafted design is developed with simplicity in mind while drawing inspiration from architecture, math, science and the natural life around us. Personally, I’m enjoying the fresh, minimalist use of typical geometrical shapes found not only within our surroundings but also in busier visual styles like the renaissance of Memphis-inspired graphics. UMC also seeks to follow an environmental friendly practice, using recycled metals and packaging that is biodegradable. Photography by Dawn Di Carlo.


Located in a residential area of the northwestern part of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, lies a beautifully minimalist white structure. On the first floor is an aesthetic dental clinic White Essence Takashima and on the second floor an aesthetic salon — Salon de M. Following his client’s requirements, designer Ryutaro Matsuura explains: The building can give the neighbourhood a sense of affinity and good impressions as a symbolic object in the town. The interior offers a the space that is enclosed by four buildings into a void area with a top light. It was turned into a comfortable place with natural light. Perforated metal screens are fixed on the outside of the windows of the first floor treatment rooms to set up buffer spaces bridging the inside and outside. This made the cozy treatment spaces with soft daylight and patient privacy. Waiting in a dental surgery has never been so pleasant. We hope that this building will endear itself to the town’s people and be nurtured by them as a new landmark of the town. In this Japanese town, a visit to the dentist will no longer a daunting experience.


Pâtisserie À la Folie is a lovely little bake shop in Montréal, Canada. Designed by the Montréal based firm Atelier Moderno, this shop uses a minimal, neutral palette to show off the baked goods. The interior is a renovation of a former retail space. Existing concrete floors and exposed brick are painted in a warm, soft gray tone. Natural wood panelling has been added to parts of the ceiling and walls as a contrast to all the gray. A few hanging lights illuminate the register and display cases. While the design of this bakery is stunning, the real star of this interior are the rows and rows of colorful macaroons, pastries, and cakes. I love how the store’s simple palette highlights the goods for sale. Pâtisserie À la Folie is a bakeshop not easily missed on the streets of Montréal!


The German design label Studio Hausen has rethought a modern classic of design; the hanging shelf. The link shelf is stripped down to the essentials; a number of massive ash wood shelve boards and a set of black steel mounting brackets. I like the contrast of the natural wood and dark steel and the open structure of the shelf. The open character makes the shelf perfect to store and display acquired treasures. One can easily arrange, and expand, the elements of the shelf by himself adapted to his needs and space requirements and play with the many potential compositions. The link shelf was exclusively availabale in two variants through MONOQI and was a real hit.


Mass Fradette Residence is a refined modern home in Greenfield Park, Canada. The home was completed in 2012 by Montreal firm Jean Verville Architects. Three interlocking volumes comprise the home’s structure. The volumes contain the garage and entrance, main living area, and upstairs bedrooms. The facade is covered in soft white wood cladding, with strategic openings for windows and outside access. The ground level features an open floor plan with long expanses of floor to ceiling windows. These windows overlook a garden, connecting the home with its surrounding natural environment. The interior is covered in a mix of matte and glossy white surfaces. Overhead lighting keeps things clean and minimal by eliminating the clutter of table and floor lamps. Polished concrete provides a modern, durable surface for the floors. This material continues on the exterior to form the back patios. Three bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a dramatic white and concrete staircase. An upstairs terrace provides a private outdoor space for sunbathing or stargazing. I’m obsessed with the unique geometry of Mass Fradette Residence. The blunt angles and crisp white surfaces are undoubtably modern, yet not without an element of playfulness.


Handmade by Brooklyn-based S.D. Evans, these heirloom-quality quilts are made from natural fabrics like cotton, vintage yukata cotton, linen and leather. The designs give a nod to traditional quilting patterns and the very nostalgia of quilts, but Evans has added a bold, contemporary, and beautifully simple aesthetic. The motifs reference nature, daily rituals and personal landmarks — the quilts have everyday and revealing names like Gravity, Migration, Stereo, Library Steps and Two Rivers — offering a glimpse into the designer’s life and inspirations. I love how they work as a fresh addition to urban and country dwellings alike!


Daycare Sundries is a modern kindergarten located southwest of the town Babenhausen in Germany. Designing a school is always a challenge: the structure needs to hold a large percentage of children to adults while keeping everyone occupied and safe. As a result, stark utilitarian structures tend to dominate in the industry. Designed by Ecker Architekten, Daycare Sundries is the exception. On first approach the building gives the impression of a work of art rather than a kindergarten. With a closer look, however, smartly crafted details start to emerge. The structure is segmented into two wings, one for the older students and one for the younger. Four double-height classrooms house the older children on the north end of the site. Built in lockers and cubbies provide no-fuss storage in both halves of the school. The dining hall and gymnasium, used by students of all ages, are the centerpieces of the structure. Tall windows are prevalent on a majority of the exterior walls. The windows warm the school with natural light and views of the peaceful landscape. Pale brick covers other parts of the facade; the material is a nod to the medieval architecture in neighboring towns. Lawns and paved areas around the building provide space for...


House in Possanco is a contemporary home featuring a captivating array of architectural gestures. Designed by the prominent Portuguese firm ARX, this weekend home is located in the arid landscape of Possanco, Portugal. The structure is defined by a pure white facade with strategic carvings, which create windows and skylights. The pristine sheets of white are expertly constructed, allowing the entire building to exude the air of designed precision. Four patios cut through the bold form and are situated throughout the home. A triangular cantilever juts from the side of the building. It is an exciting piece, and it plays with the viewer’s sense of scale and structure. The interior is void of decoration. Instead, long and uniquely formed shadows are splashed along the walls like artwork. The highly geometric roof adds visual interest to any of the home’s interior rooms. The many windows and openings ensure plenty of natural light and views of the exterior landscape. The abstract nature of House in Possanco pushes the viewer to explore further. This is not a structure that can be admired casually: it requires one’s keen attention and an appreciation for the modern and spectacular. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.


Home 11 is an elegant dwelling in Amsterdam. The structure was previously a large garage. i29 Interior Architects renovated the garage into a modern apartment for two people. The color palette is defined by three materials: white sheetrock, natural oak, and gleaming black surfaces. The elevated kitchen is composed of wooden cabinets and a black island. Step down into the living room and you’ll find an oak wall with black shelving and a small fireplace. The doors to the bedroom and bathroom blend with the wood-clad walls. Skylights run across the ceiling and provide a plethora of natural light. To connect the home with the outdoors, i29 Interior Architects included a small outdoor patio and designed the living room carpet in a green mossy pattern. Home 11 is an incredibly posh dwelling. The materials and furnishings combine to give the home a luxury feel. The skylights are a wonderful addition. Never underestimate the power of simple materials, natural light, and great design. Photography by Ewout Huibers.