Minimalissimo


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Honest By is a fashion company conceived and curated by Belgian designer Bruno Pieters with experiences at Martin Margiela, Thimister and Christian Lacroix under his belt. The philosophy behind it is rooted in its transparency behind the operating methods and manufacturing processes of a fashion design company from conception to production. All the information is presented right down to the cost of making the ‘care’ and ‘made in’ labels. Every part of the collaboration process is transparent including the store mark up calculations. In communicating all information regarding a garments production process; Honest by wants to shed light on the questions: where is it made and by whom. Bruno Pieters believes that fashion is a celebration of beauty and that the story behind that celebration can be equally beautiful.  Yet it is the clean aesthetic and sharp tailoring that first caught my eye in Pieters’ 2012 collection where the minimalist silhouettes allow the details of the designs to be somewhat androgynous. I really like how the structured forms are juxtaposed by its versatile way of wear and comfortable materials. The responsibly sourced, supplied and produced philosophy is the icing on the cake.


One of Apple’s finest minds Tony Fadell is the force behind Nest, a new thermostat manufacturer. The device is a sleeker and smarter alternative to a traditional wall eyesore most people are used to. Nest learns your heating and cooling preferences and adjusts accordingly. It is also wi-fi enabled and can be controlled directly from your computer or smartphone. Technology should be about more than newest, loudest, prettiest. It should make a difference. We take what’s familiar and look at it in a new light. Our team focuses on making technology that’s simple, fresh and helpful. This ability to adapt is also reflected in the design of the device. A true chameleon, Nest blends into any wall and reflects any colour. Apple influences are strong in the shape of the piece. And it seems that Steve Jobs’ war on buttons has gained a new mighty little soldier… Watch the video to see Nest in action.


Sydney based menswear label Song for the Mute unites Parisian-born, Italian-trained fashion designer Lyna Ty and graphic artist Melvin Tanaya under its wings. Coming from these two different angles, it seems to be the fabric’s surface which initially brings the two creatives together and inspires the work on any new collection: In essence, the label is a symphonic poem of tactile expectations and contemporary dreams. Visiting the flagship store of Song for the Mute in Sydney, I am not only awed by the impeccable fit and the cutting edge use of fabrics, but also by the all-round perfect and inviting set up of the label’s branding, the most friendly staff imaginable, and an open and honest interior design. And although it is definitely a menswear undertaking, there are more than a few pieces in the current collection I would love to wear myself. So I am very much looking forward to the upcoming online shop opening.


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.


The straightforward Holiday House Vindö  is located on a rocky hillside on Vindö island in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. The idyllic setting of pine trees, blueberry bushes, and exposed granite posed a challenge for architect Max Holst. How could one place a home here without leveling the site and destroying the beautiful landscape? Holst responded to the site’s unique condition with a one-story structure that hovers just above ground level. The home is accessed through a series of wood stairs and planks nestled in the hillside. A large, sheltered terrace is located on the eastern end of the structure. The terrace leads to an open living and dining room. The bedrooms are located on the opposite half on the home, separated from the public areas by a hallway that doubles as the child’s playroom. The materials chosen for this home are rooted in Swedish tradition. Painted local timber defines the entirety of the facade, while the interior uses natural timber for a light and airy aesthetic. This design is exactly what I expect from a well crafted holiday home. Lovely setting, minimal intervention, only the necessities. Photography by Hannes Söderlund.


Late last year we introduced you to the simple, minimalist and superbly designed branding and packaging of Håndværk by Savvy. The small, artisanal New York based fashion brand specialises in supremely luxurious pieces with a thoughtfully curated collection of high quality everyday essentials made from the finest natural raw materials and innovative fabrics. The label was founded by husband and wife Esteban Saba and Petra Brichnacova, who both share a passion for textiles. Their vision? To create a lifestyle brand grounded on the essence of quality craftsmanship and minimal design. From the grey mélange sweatshirt, cut from super soft loopback knit fabric — to the classic white cotton crew neck t-shirt — to the light grey pure cashmere scarf — this basic collection is filled with quality and a simplicity that has the minimalist in me wish-listing. Håndværk are also offering a 25% discount using the code: minimalissimo


Once again, Jil Sander has left her own label after expelling Raf Simons from the house in 2012. For Autumn Winter 2014, the brand’s design team took over to produce a minimal collection that proves even without a creative director, a show can still carry on its identity without any compromises. The collective effort has created a new Jil girl that’s both tomboy and feminine. With her popped collars and bright creepers, she knows where she wants to go, and what she wants to do. The outerwear and the pants especially emphasizes this masculinity undertone, while the floral dresses totally contrast that. With a few tailoring twists here and there (literally), there is an additional newness to what is seemingly ordinary. The trend of pastels is apparent through a combination of soft colors applied onto vibrant textures, from the glossy finish to the interwoven feel of knitwear. Accessories were simplified to small bags and exactly one pair of sunglasses, which I found quirky and humorous. All these elements fused together to elevate the energy of youth with an elegant manner. Although there was no innovation, the ready-to-wear aspect was highly regarded and the collection was wearable at its finest. In...


In February Noon Studio launched their latest iternation of the steel stool we have featured in the past. I did like the previous edition, the simple construction and use of honest materials, but I like the latest iternation even better. The founders of Noon Studio, Gautier Pelegron and Vincent Taiani, have worked on a few important details in the construction and decided to powder coat paint the high grade steel sheet. I love the contrast of the oiled European ash and the black steel. Pelegron and Taiani say the stool is influenced by traditional English craftsmanship and Provencal (southeastern France) rawness. The stool tries to express the direct simplicity found in real traditional antique Provencal furniture and the know-how of British craftsmanship which still holds today. The stool is not just a stool. One can easliy use it as a side or coffee table, book holder or shelving system.


Look carefully or you might miss the tiny Yokaya restaurant and residence in Fukuoka, Japan. This humble white rectangle is nestled on a busy street between several tall condo buildings. Designed by rhythmdesign, the structure is a mere 135 square meters and houses a restaurant on the ground floor with an apartment above. The front facade is entirely opaque on the upper stories, while a cutout on the ground floor invites passerby into the restaurant. Wood and concrete are the main materials used in the interior. In the restaurant, the simple design allows the food to take center stage. The apartment above is arranged with a similar aesthetic: built in storage keeps the space uncluttered and the furnishings are limited to essentials. I love the modest design of this duplex building. The clean lines of the architecture and precise use of materials come together quite elegantly. Yokaya is quiet and reserved, but it is its little form that stands dignified on this bustling street.


Kebei Li’s Bronze Cable Holder reinterprets the utilitarian. Fusing functionality and form, this piece helps to express the beauty in the un-ornate. Simplistic in finish and beautifully crafted, Li has really crafted something minimal, from an everyday untapped opportunity for assistance. Inspired by his daily frustration of charging cables falling off of the table, the intent was for this to be a very function-driven design approach with clear affordance. Rhode Island-based Li is very passionate about the use of raw and genuine materials and the absence of decoration. I find this approach very interesting, especially his quality of honesty with the materiality. His work focuses on the human-object interaction and how the reliability of use and the making of the design all connect in some way. The material itself, being bronze was specific due to its layer of patina that forms through use over time. There is also an emphasis on the controlled geometry which I appreciate on many levels. Photography courtesy of Kebei Li.


151E is a shop based in Fukuoka dedicated to Japan’s finest teas. The name is written in alpha-numeric characters, but is pronounced ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会), which is actually a Japanese phrase nearly impossible to translate for its multiple roots and interpretations. However, the term can be used to encourage one to cherish a once in a lifetime moment, or perhaps a cup of tea, in the tradition of tea ceremonies which are always of significance in Japanese culture. 151E opened in Fukuoka in October 2013 and boasts the finest varieties of teas from the Kyushu region. In typical Japanese fashion, the shop features an elegant interior with clean, raw materials and showcases an beautiful range of minimalist packaging for each tea.


Natural growth. This basic principle is not only valuable for UK based fashion label Cotton Love‘s fabric choice, it is also their very healthy idea of developing a brand. Having established a neat niche online shop which started out as a vintage curation platform, it is a natural and highly welcomed next step to establish Cotton Love’s in-house collection for both sexes, galvanizing the style and attitude of its trustful customers. It is no question that the Kickstarter funding project, which is a requirement to start production, will be a success. Launching via Kickstarter on a pre-order basis ensures that, as a small independent brand, we are able to fully realize our vision, manage production quantities and maintain manufacturing within the UK. I really like the attitude of founder Nigel and creative director Ruth, focusing on independence in a very competitive industry. But, more importantly, being a potential future customer, I love the very pure and refined clothing they design, focused on honesty of construction and a distinguishable identity.